900 writers, including best-selling authors Stephen King, Paul Auster and Donna Tartt, have signed their names to a full-page ad asking Amazon “to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business.” The ad will appear in The New York Times this weekend. It is the latest twist in an ongoing feud between Amazon and Hachette. The publishing battle has seen Amazon delay orders of some Hachette titles and accuse the French conglomerate of “using authors as human shields.”
The petition has been organized by thriller writer Douglas Preston. The ad states that “As writers–most of us not published by Hachette–we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation. Moreover, by inconveniencing and misleading its own customers with unfair pricing and delayed delivery, Amazon is contradicting its own written promise to be ‘Earth’s most customer-centric company’.” Amazon is dismissive of Preston’s petition, accusing him of being an opportunist.