Citing the “predatory and thuggish practices” of Amazon, Melville House publisher Dennis Johnson has withdrawn his press from future participation in the Best Translated Book Awards. Last year the independent press won the fiction award for The Confessions of Noa Weber by Gail Hareven.
UPDATE: Award organizer Chad Post has responded to Melville House.
Last week news broke that Amazon.com will underwrite the Best Translated Book Awards, giving a $25,000 grant to the University of Rochester/Three Percent website to help fund the annual prize. “We must all hang together, or assuredly we will all hang separately,” explained Johnson in a passionate post about the award. What do you think?
Here’s more from the post: “[I]t’s clear to us that Amazon’s interests, and those of a healthy book culture, whether electronic or not, are antithetical. As most of us here at Melville House have also worked at indie bookstores — including such biggies as Booksoup, Shaman Drum, Brookline Booksmith and others — we feel this especially keenly: Taking money from Amazon is akin to the medical researchers who take money from cigarette companies.” (Via Publishers Lunch)