Amazon turns to consumers in e-book feud with Hachette

By Kyle Johnson,

While many authors have taken to asking Amazon to settle the feud with publisher Hachette, the online retailer has turned to consumers for help.

Amazon created ReadersUnited and is trying to convince consumers that they are the ones that they should be back and that publishers are the evil ones.

On the website, which currently appears only to host the single pleading note, Amazon has shot back against the author created AuthorsUnited website and is telling readers, "we want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not."

Amazon points out how in the past publishers viewed paperback books negatively and now they are doing the same with e-books, which apparently only are 1 percent of revenue. The online retailer also notes that Hachette, along with the other major publishers, already were found guilty of collusion over e-book prices.

Suggesting a retail price of $9.99 for e-books as opposed to $14.99 or higher, Amazon believes that Hachette would see an improved revenue, with 1.74 copies of a book sold if priced at the lower amount.

It ends with the request that readers write in to Hachette CEO Michael Pietsch and let him know what they think of the situation.

The note showed up just as author Douglas Preston, along with 900 other writers, have purchased a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.

The ad, which cost $104,000, was signed by authors even not with Hachette and includes big names such as Stephen King, Donna Tartt, Greg Bear and Barbara Kingsolver.

The online note, which will appear as the ad, blasts Amazon for singling out the authors published through Hachette by delaying shipments to consumers or making it impossible to pre-order books.

"It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation."

Preston has said the goal is to get both sides to sit down and just end the feud and he isn't calling on a boycott of Amazon. He simply wants a "friendly" end to the argument so that Hachette authors are no longer caught in the middle.

image courtesy of Roger Wong/INFphoto.com

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