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Old 09-16-2014, 07:05 PM   #1
TCSimpson
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Latest Authors United letter to Amazon Board

Seeing that the Amazon/Hachette dispute and this stuff in general always generates a robust debate, placing this here seems a good fit.
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/au...n-board.html-0 Let the opinions flow.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:18 PM   #2
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A stupid letter by stupid authors. They should send a letter to Hachette telling them to sign the contract Amazon offered already and stop holding them hostage.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:36 PM   #3
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More from around the web...

NY Times - In Latest Volley Against Amazon, Hachette’s Writers Target Its Board

Liked Susanna Kearsley's post in the comments area of this post...
http://dearauthor.com/features/indus...ck-victorians/

Courtney Milan
Dear Authors United: Stop being gross.
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Old 09-16-2014, 07:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
"Amazon has every right to refuse to sell consumer goods in response to a pricing disagreement with a wholesaler. We all appreciate discounted razor blades and cheaper shoes. But books are not consumer goods. Books cannot be written more cheaply, nor can authors be outsourced to China. Books are not toasters or televisions. Each book is the unique, quirky creation of a lonely, intense, and often expensive struggle on the part of a single individual, a person whose living depends on that book finding readers. This is the process Amazon is obstructing."
And once again

Why does the uniqueness of the books make them not consumer goods? Two uniquely different books are still interchangeable; I can either buy a Discworld book, or a Dresden Files book, a Percy Jackson book, an Alex Verus book, a Simon R. Green book... They all provide the same entertainment.

OK, once I buy one book I will want to buy all the other books in the series... but then a series is a unique but interchangeable product, because there is still nothing to say any one series/author is more of a must-read than any other.
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Old 09-16-2014, 10:48 PM   #5
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Amazon must stock and sell all books at whatever price the publisher dictates because books are special.*

*Except books don't need to be sold at a price dictated by the publisher. In fact, the authors don't seem to want their books to be sold at the manufacturer's suggested retail price.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://authorsunited.net/letter/
For the past several months, Amazon has been:

...

--Refusing to discount the prices of many of Hachette authors' books.

...
Did I get that right? So Authors United is really on the side of Amazon to be able to discount ebooks, just not the tactics used by Amazon to get Hatchette to sign the darn contract already?

Last edited by bgalbrecht; 09-16-2014 at 10:58 PM.
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Old 09-16-2014, 11:44 PM   #6
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1- Read this.

http://jenrasmussen.com/authors-unit...azon-a-primer/

2- Go read a book. Or watch TV. Or whatever. Not much left to say after that.
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
More from around the web...

Courtney Milan
Dear Authors United: Stop being gross.
Thanks.
I hadn't seen the Milan piece.
She nailed it, as usual for her.

Yes, those boys think they are very precious and everybody else is disposable.

Less polite but more detailed fisking:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2014/0...se-united.html
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Old 09-17-2014, 12:26 AM   #8
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http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2014/0...se-united.html
Quote:
And Authors United confirms that a group can indeed be less than the sum of its parts when it acts in such a blatantly stupid way.
I could've told him that for free.
Quote:
And, since the IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters, [...] -- Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett
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Old 09-17-2014, 03:20 AM   #9
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The signatories should cringe in embarrasment at having signed this steaming pile of garbage. I can only think that whoever conceived this as a strategy is almost totally out of touch with the real world. Perhaps they need a good PR firm to come up with some less ridiculous arguments and an approach which garners sympathy rather then ridicule.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:08 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschwartz;2924921
I could've told him that for free.
Quote:
And, since the IQ of a mob is the IQ of its most stupid member divided by the number of mobsters, [...
-- Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett
In this case, since they all read it and still signed it, it suggests that none cracks the triple digit barrier on their own anyway.

It seems that the only thing worse than stupidity is self-absorption.

From the original letter:

Quote:
No group of authors as diverse or prominent as this has ever come together before in support of a single cause.
Yeah, they really think that.

It has been pointed out that they aren't even close:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/09/20...comment-250758

Quote:

I know some of these guys are old enough to remember Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I suspect some of them probably signed petitions supporting him. You want a list of prominent authors, here’s a list the most prominent of the hundreds of writers who signed petitions supporting Solzhenitsyn (from his NYT obit):

Jean-Paul Sartre, Graham Greene, Muriel Sparks, W.H. Auden, Gunther Grass, Heinrich Boll, Yukio Mishima, Carlos Fuentes, Arthur Miller, John Updike, Truman Capote, and Kurt Vonnegut.

So, I think Author United might want to reconsider their own conception of their own relative prominence.

Last edited by fjtorres; 09-17-2014 at 07:21 AM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:20 AM   #11
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It's fairly humorous how when you (that's a generic you, btw) disagree with the authors, then it's a steaming pile of garbage, yet if an author posts something that you agree with, then it's Right On, Dude!

If you are going to do the appeal to authority, then you can't have it both ways. You either respect the right of authors to have an informed opinion on the matter, or they are just another Joe whose only value is that they agree or disagree with your personal belief.

I would also point out that the author's main point, that books are not simply gross product is fairly obvious true, otherwise you wouldn't have best selling authors such as J.K. Rowlings, Stephen King, etc. Simply dismissing it out of hand as a steaming pile of garbage doesn't make it untrue, no matter how strongly you may personally feel about it.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:26 AM   #12
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It (the contents of the letter) doesn't need to be true/untrue to be rude, insensitive and utterly dismissive of anyone who makes their living in industries other than their special snowflake one.

Last edited by DiapDealer; 09-17-2014 at 07:30 AM.
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Old 09-17-2014, 07:30 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
It's fairly humorous how when you (that's a generic you, btw) disagree with the authors, then it's a steaming pile of garbage, yet if an author posts something that you agree with, then it's Right On, Dude!

If you are going to do the appeal to authority, then you can't have it both ways. You either respect the right of authors to have an informed opinion on the matter, or they are just another Joe whose only value is that they agree or disagree with your personal belief.

I would also point out that the author's main point, that books are not simply gross product is fairly obvious true, otherwise you wouldn't have best selling authors such as J.K. Rowlings, Stephen King, etc. Simply dismissing it out of hand as a steaming pile of garbage doesn't make it untrue, no matter how strongly you may personally feel about it.
So the premise of this letter is that all books must be sold by Amazon, on all the same terms, correct? (They seem upset that Amazon is no longer discounting their special books in the same way that they are discounting other people's books) If that is so, then I would think that they would be SUPPORTING Amazon, since what Amazon is fighting for is the ability to sell all books on the same terms...a thing that the publisher's are trying to limit.

Shari
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Old 09-17-2014, 11:01 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
1- Read this.

http://jenrasmussen.com/authors-unit...azon-a-primer/

2- Go read a book. Or watch TV. Or whatever. Not much left to say after that.
That gave me a good laugh.

The letter from the authors though, just made me sad. I can't believe a group of authors thought this was the best argument in their quiver, and that this was the best way to present it.
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Old 09-17-2014, 11:04 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
That gave me a good laugh.

The letter from the authors though, just made me sad. I can't believe a group of authors thought this was the best argument in their quiver, and that this was the best way to present it.
When the easiest way to mock them is to quote them accurately, you know they jumped the shark...
...and fell short.
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