DOJ Highlights Letter from Self-Published Authors

By Jason Boog Comment

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has responded to a public comment endorsed by 186 self-published authors, a letter defending the DOJ’s lawsuit that alleges Apple and major publishers colluded to set eBook prices.

Follow this link to read a copy of the initial letter from the writers, a missive written by self-published author David Gaughran (pictured, via). The DOJ acknowledged these responses in a single paragraph. It was part of the DOJ’s response to 868 pieces of public commentary filed about the controversial lawsuit:

Many comments from self-published authors, in particular, expressed appreciation that Amazon opened a path to publication that was immune from Publisher Defendants’ hegemony. David Gaughran, writing on behalf of 186 self-published co-signors, writes that “Amazon is creating, for the first time, real competition in publishing” by charting a “viable path” for self-published books. Gaughran (ATC-0125) at 1, 3. Mr. Gaughran observes that “[t]he kind of disruption caused by the Internet is often messy,” and those who “do quite well under the status quo” naturally resist change. He compares publishers and literary agents to “[a]ll kinds of middlemen,” which have “gone from being indispensible to optional” with the rise of the Internet. Writing in support of the proposed Final Judgment, Mr. Gaughran confirms that self-published writers, in particular, see opportunities in a market not subject to collusive pricing.

You can read the complete letter from the self-published authors at this link. Here’s an excerpt:

Personally, I believe that the actions the defending publishers and Apple are alleged to have undertaken, and the subsequent defense of those alleged actions by the Authors Guild and the Association of Authors Representatives (and the respective defendants) are motivated by fear. The world is changing and they don’t like it. Amazon, as the prime mover in facilitating those changes, is the primary target of their ire. I don’t share their apparent hatred of Amazon. From where I stand, Amazon has done more to make self-publishing a viable path than any other company (something which benefits authors through increased paths to publication and readers through a greater selection and lower prices).