Financial News

  • 19 August 2014, 9:43

German Writers Join Amazon Ebook Protest

More than 1,000 German-language authors have signed a petition against the tactics used by Amazon in its ebook price battle with Scandinavian publishing house Bonnier.

"In the past few months, Bonnier authors are being boycotted and their books no longer held in stock," the letter, which included Austrian Nobel literature prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek, said.

"The delivery of the books is being subjected to a go-slow, false information is given about their availability, and the authors' names no longer appear on Amazon's recommended lists.

"Amazon has no right to take hostage authors who are not directly involved in the conflict."

America's fourth biggest publisher, Hachette, has already been struggling with Amazon.

Nearly 1,200 authors, including Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell and Donna Tartt, had earlier signed a letter as Authors United demanding Amazon stop "taking writers hostage" to increase market share.

Amazon.com's Books Team ran a message on the Readers United website reiterating its arguments for cheaper ebooks, and suggested people email Hachette chief executive Michael Pietsch.

The company published Mr Pietsch's email address and listed key points people might want to make.

Days later the literary estate of 1984 author George Orwell accused Amazon of "doublespeak" after the online retailer invoked the famous author in its struggle over prices.

Literary executor Bill Hamilton said Amazon had twisted the novelist's words, and compared the company to the Ministry of Truth in Orwell's dystopian novel.

The US dispute has already widened from print to include Hollywood.

More than a week ago Amazon.com was not offering DVD pre-orders for forthcoming Disney films, including titles such as Maleficent and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

The titles were, however, available on the UK website.

This followed on from the retailer's standoff with Warner Bros over movies in May, when it stopped pre-orders of the company's home video releases.

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