While Amazon’s latest offer in its ongoing dispute with the Hachette Book Group may look like they are trying to be more friendly towards authors, the Authors Guild isn’t buying it.
Essentially on Tuesday, Amazon told Hachette that they would restock their author’s books if the publishers promised to give the authors 100 percent of the revenues on eBooks sold until the dispute between the companies is resolved.
Richard Russo, novelist and co-Vice President of the Authors Guild, published an open letter to Amazon responding to the offer and calling the offer “highly disingenuous.” Check it out:
While Amazon claims to be concerned about the fate of mid-list and debut authors, we believe their offer—the majority of which Hachette would essentially fund—is highly disingenuous. For one thing, it’s impossible to remove authors from the middle of the dispute. We write the books they’re fighting over. And because it is the writing life itself we seek to defend, we’re not interested in a short-term windfall to some of the writers we represent. What we care about is a healthy ecosystem where all writers, both traditionally and independently published, can thrive. We believe that ecosystem should be as diverse as possible, containing traditional big publishers, smaller publishers, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, as well as both e-books and print books. We believe that such an ecosystem cannot exist while entities within it are committed to the eradication of other entities.
Amazon responded to this letter with the following statement:
Our offer is sincere and it stands—Hachette need only say yes to help their authors. We also wonder what this letter would look like if Hachette had posed this idea and Amazon had rejected it. The letter conflates the long term structure of the industry with a short term proposal designed to take authors, the constituency this organization supposedly represents, out of the line of fire of a negotiation between large corporations. Given that the Authors Guild are an author’s advocacy group, it is hard to believe they don’t support this. They are the Authors Guild, not the Publishers Guild.
EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED TO INCLUDE A RESPONSE FROM AMAZON.