Bestselling authors take out full page ad against Amazon in New York Times
11 August 2014
A full page ad paid for by a group of bestselling authors - and backed by over 900 other writers appeared on the pages of The New York Times calling on Amazon "in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business", The Guardian newspaper reported.
The move is being seen as the latest salvo as the two sides battle over terms which had led to Amazon delaying delivery and withdrawing the facility of pre-orders on several books by Hachette authors, including JK Rowling and James Patterson. Amazon maintains that it was attempting to make e-books cheaper, and that while publishing conglomerate Hachette contends it was seeking "terms that value appropriately for the years ahead, the author's unique role in creating books, and the publisher's role in editing, marketing, and distributing them".
The tone and tenor of rhetoric on both sides sharpened over recent weeks, with Hachette saying that it would be suicidal to accept Amazon's proposals, while according to Amazon, Hachette should "stop using their authors as human shields".
Authors too had joined the issue, and writer Douglas Preston collected 900 signatures resulting in the advertisement set to appear on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Amazon.com has extended the tactic to movies blocking the pre-order option of Walt Disney hit movie ''Captain America: The Winter Soldier'' and other titles in disk form, Bloomberg News reported.
''Maleficent,'' another Disney summer blockbuster, too, was not available in DVD pre-order on Amazon's web site, but it continued offering both movies in pre- order on its online streaming service. Amazon's disputes with media companies had increased in the past months as the Seattle-based company sought to use its weight in markets for books to home video to demand better terms from its vendors. While the dispute with Time Warner's Warner Bros was nearing resolution, the one with publisher Hachette Book Group was getting worse.
According to Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities who rates Amazon the equivalent of a hold, they were squeezing studios on DVD pricing, which was understandable given their market position, Bloomberg reported. He said Disney could not cut them off, and Amazon could cut Disney off, so he would say Amazon had the leverage.
The non-availability of the pre-order for some Disney DVDs, also including ''Muppets Most Wanted'' and ''Million Dollar Arm,'' was reported by Home Media Magazine last week.