Skip to main content

European authors criticise Amazon over yet another eBook publisher dispute

European authors are joining the mutiny against Amazon’s eBook policy that now includes two of the firm’s largest markets and shows no sign of dissipating.

Related: Amazon hits back over Hachette’s “Author’s United” letter in eBook dispute

The latest has seen over 1,000 German-language authors sign a petition against the tactics utilised by Amazon in a battle with Scandinavian publishing house Bonnier that has seen authors boycotted and books withdrawn from sale

"Amazon has no right to take hostage authors who are not directly involved in the conflict,” read a letter from the group that included various prominent authors from the region, according to Sky News. "The delivery of the books is being subjected to a go-slow, false information is given about their availability, and the authors' names no longer appear on Amazon's recommended lists.”

Amazon’s fight with authors has come to a head in the past couple of weeks after a letter from a number of authors, including Stephen King, Donna Hart and Philip Pullman, asked the firm to stop blocking or delaying the sale of Hachette books.

The group, which is called Authors United, numbers over 900 writers and was started off after Amazon’s tactics were uncovered due to the fact a licensing deal is being renegotiated with the publisher.

Amazon reacted defensively to the Hachette dispute by asking the publisher to lower its eBook prices and it was criticised for using a George Orwell quote in its blog post.

It’s likely that Bonnier will get similarly short shrift from the leader in the eBook market though as it angers more publishing houses that very lead could begin to erode away purely due to the fact that less books means lower choice for consumers.

Related: eBooks will hit £1b by 2018 and eclipse printed books

The importance of the eBook market is laid bare by figures showing the market will hit £1 billion by 2018 and surpass printed books thus coming to an agreement is in the best interests of both sides.