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Hachette Authors Take Their Case To Amazon's Board Of Directors


All right, we have an update now on a major battle in the publishing industry. It has pitted Amazon against the publishing company Hachette, and it has some authors so angry they're taking their fight to Amazon's board of directors. Here's NPR's Neda Ulaby.

NEDA ULABY, BYLINE: At issue is this, Amazon wants Hachette to charge less for e-books, and Hachette is not giving in. So for the past three months, Amazon's retaliated by making it harder to order books by Hachette writers online.

DOUGLAS PRESTON: They're being absolutely crushed by this.

ULABY: Bestselling thriller writer, Douglas Preston, is just one of the many Hachette writers who say their sales have dropped 60 to 90 percent since this fight began, and the stakes are rising. Fall is when book publishing really heats up, and Preston almost laughed when I wondered whether Hachette authors are worried.

PRESTON: The word worried is an understatement. I mean, there are 2,500 authors whose books are being sanctioned, and they are in a panic.

ULABY: Amazon is declining preorders for some Hachette books and slowing delivery of others. Preston drafted a letter to be signed by more than a thousand writers supporting Hachette authors which will be sent to Amazon's powerful board of directors. But James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research, doubts it'll do much good.

JAMES MCQUIVEY: I don't think the board was unaware that this would cause trouble for some of the authors, and so it almost makes the authors seem a bit naive in their response.

ULABY: For its part, Amazon declined to comment for the story. Neda Ulaby, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Neda Ulaby reports on arts, entertainment, and cultural trends for NPR's Arts Desk.