I strongly suggest to you all that you read the latest letter from Authors United to Amazon’s Board of Directors, because seriously, it is just the very cutest thing. My favorite is “books are not consumer goods,” but the cry that traditional publishing and traditionally published authors like themselves are crucial, because editors (and also America), paired with the error in the very first line, is pretty good too. Over a thousand people signed that letter, and it claims that every one of them read it first. So I guess they’re right. They really do need editors.
But, I know my peeps are busy. Maybe you don’t have time to read it. Because you’re working, like, day jobs, and writing books and stuff. So to help you stay informed within the confines of your busy schedule, I’m going to go ahead and sum up this whole kerfuffle for you.
AUTHORS UNITED: We’re really mad because you’re blocking sales of Hachette titles!
AMAZON: We’re not blocking sales of Hachette titles. Go buy them from our site right now.
AUTHORS UNITED: Well, our sales are down.
AMAZON: Then maybe some of you clowns should stop urging your readers to boycott us? (shrug)
AUTHORS UNITED: But you’re not stocking them in your warehouses! Or putting pre-order buttons on the pages!
AMAZON: We can’t be stocking or promising future sales of books from a supplier whose products we have no contract to sell. Business and customers and stuff? And by the way, the reason we don’t have a contract with this particular supplier is that they let the contract expire and refused to negotiate a new one.
AUTHORS UNITED: Okay, but we’re really mad because you’re
blocking boycotting sanctioning Hachette titles!
AMAZON: Are not.
AUTHORS UNITED: Are too.
AUTHORS UNITED: LITERATURE! CULTURE! BOOKS ARE NOT THINGS AND STUFF!
AUTHORS UNITED: AMAGA YOU ARE NOT DISCOUNTING OUR BOOKS!!!11!!one!
AMAZON: But your publisher is arguing that you authors can’t eat unless the prices are kept high, so…
AUTHORS UNITED: You can’t just go charging the price Hachette put on the cover, are you nuts? Nobody is going to buy books at that price! YOU OWE US DISCOUNTS! WE ARE ENTITLED TO DISCOUNTS! Also, we have never commented on the price of books.
AMAZON: But… isn’t complaining about discounts kind of like commenting on the price of books?
AUTHORS UNITED: Books are not consumer goods!
AMAZON: Then why are we discussing discounting and warehousing and selling them?
AUTHORS UNITED: We are prominent and important! We are PROMINENT and IMPORTANT! WE ARE PROMINENT! AND ALSO IMPORTANT!
AMAZON: Kk. We’re going back to work now.
NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER: No! Listen! They are prominent! Also important! WHALE MATH!!!!
So there you have it. HTH.
Joe Konrath’s hilarious fisk
Hugh Howey’s summary of lies from many directions