Amazon vs. Authors United, Round 2

Last year, Authors United, a group of professional writers—by their own definition the most prestigious one ever assembled!—managed to write the very worst persuasive essay I’d ever seen.

This year, they’ve topped it. And because being concise with misinformation and disingenuous posturing is hard, there’s also a companion position paper of 24 pages.

Some of you are no doubt too busy to read all that, so once again, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the whole kerfuffle.


AMAZON: You again? We’re trying to work here.

AUTHORS UNITED: You’re a monopoly! And a monopsony!

AMAZON: If you’re a Prime member, we can get a dictionary to your house in two days. Better yet, we have them available for Kindle!

AUTHORS UNITED: You’re blocking the sale of books!

AMAZON: How’s that?

AUTHORS UNITED: Because you sell too many of the books!


AUTHORS UNITED: And you try to sell more of your own products than ours! And you don’t do ANYTHING to foster competition!

AMAZON: Business?

AUTHORS  UNITED: And if those poor pathetic self publishers don’t price their books how you say, you cut their royalties!

AMAZON: You mean, we cut them down to an only slightly higher percentage than you get all the time, instead of a way way higher one?

(INDIE AUTHORS: Please leave us out of this.)

AUTHORS UNITED: You have to do what we want, because culture! We are the only source of books and the only means of free expression!

AMAZON: Are not.


AMAZON: We agree.

AUTHORS UNITED: The DOJ will hear about this!

AMAZON: We love those guys. Tell them we said hi.

Further reading:
Passive Guy provides some excellent legal commentary
Joe Konrath provides some excellent fisking

Here’s the thing, and I said this last time I blogged mean about AU: I really don’t like blogging mean, honest I don’t. But I feel compelled to respond when they behave this badly, and so deliberately pursue their own self-interest while pretending to be motivated by nothing but altruism and apple pie and the children. It’s so disappointing to see in people I’ve read and enjoyed and in many cases, admired. And as you can see by this one paragraph, if I play it straight it just turns into a boring lecture.

19 words on the street

  1. Your love for Amazon will be your undoing. In fact, Amazon is the tiger you’ll ride until it eats you. Count on it.

    • Hey, Deb. Good to see you troll at other places than just TPV and Kboards. How’s that working out for you?

      Oh, not well, it seems. That’s too bad. You really should invest in a high-quality megaphone/PA system (I hear has some excellent deals on this type of stuff).

      What kind of lonely motel-dwelling life do you lead if you spend this much time trying to inform every indie author on the planet that you know better than they do about “stuff”?

      Please contact me with your email address so I can send you a $50 Amazon gift card. It will make you feel better when you buy something nice for yourself (or heck, do a good deed and buy one of your buddy’s Big 5 books from Amazon so they get some royalties!).

      I mean, I feel bad watching you put it all on the line daily and no one bothers to listen to a word you say. Imagine if Paul Revere was ignored like you constantly are! What kind of country would we be living in? (I bet it would smell like that weird country across the ocean where they all talk funny and wear powdered wigs!)

      Relax, get yourself a nice pool boy and some margarita mix (and some ice, it’s summer after all), and take a day off. No one listens to your “advice” as it is, so it’s not like you’ll miss out on a ton of authors who will be sick with fear and worry that you didn’t post something ridiculous for a twenty-four hour period.

    • “Your love for Amazon will be your undoing. In fact, Amazon is the tiger you’ll ride until it eats you. Count on it.”

      This comment is so silly, I thought it was posted as a parody of Amazon Derangement Syndrome.

      Then I saw who posted it.

  2. Yep, that pretty much sums it up. And it’s good to see that Driveby Deb makes the rounds and isn’t just restricted to annoying the PV readership.

  3. Wow! You got a drive-by! I’m so JEALOUS!

    Great job summarizing AU’s continued clusterfuckyness for those of us who don’t want to read a 24-page position paper.

    Okay, I really do want to read it, but I’ll save it for when I need a good laugh. You’ve given my my good laugh this morning.

  4. Pingback: Round Up: Whatever Authors United is Smoking, I Wish They'd Share | The Digital Reader

  5. I hate to break it to Drive by Deb, but I honestly have always thought getting mauled to death by a tiger would be an awesome way to go. It happened in one of the Jungle Book movie remakes. Mowgli’s dad faced Shere Khan and I thought he was the biggest hero for that. And yes, I’m aware it would be a painful way to go, but it would be epic!

    So I guess if Amazon is the tiger, I am so staying with them. 😉

    • LOL.

      I’m pretty cool with it as long as the tiger keeps paying me 70%. If the tiger changes his terms, I might go ride the lion instead. I will avoid the dinosaur in the room, though…

  6. Amazon is a business in business to help buyers find sellers selling the product they want, that is ‘JOB #1’.

    Sadly for those used to ‘controlling’ what books/ebooks were offered to the public, JOB #1 is a bad thing because Amazon offers self publishers the option of selling their books/ebooks right up there next to the big publishers — without losing the rights to their books or having to let agents and publishers take a cut of their profits.

    What they can’t control they want torn down, that is what this is about and since they have no real reasons it should be done they must resort to the twenty-four pages of pure bullsh–ing that is causing so much laughter here and on other sites …

  7. Wow! You got a Drive By Debbie – Congrats!!!

    I assume the authors in the AU group have cancelled their Amazon accounts and requested their publishers to withdraw their books from Amazon?

    No? I’m surprised. :-)

  8. “(INDIE AUTHORS: Please leave us out of this.)”

    This. So this. Please just let me fly under the radar getting 70% for as long as this distributor lets me distribute.

  9. You snark much more politely than I would. 😉

    The only thing to add would have been Authors Unedited whining that Amazon had stolen control of what readers could find/access away from their publishing masters and given it to any fool that thinks themselves a writer. Which is true, though Amazon anyone can sell an ebook, big publishers and self publishers can sit side-by-side, each getting an equal sized space for their stories (which is what scares the heck out of those publishers and their lapdogs! 😉 )

    Keep fighting the good fight!

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