More than 900 authors have signed an open letter to Amazon, charging the online retailer with engaging in "selective retaliation" against writers in its dispute with the Hachette publishing group.
"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," the letter says. The full text is available on the Authors United webpage.
The signatories include bestselling authors such as Stephen King, John Grisham, Anna Quindlen and Chelsea Cain, as well as first-time authors. James Patterson and Malcolm Gladwell, two authors who have recently spoken up Amazon's practices, are signatories.
The many novelists include Barbara Kingsolver, Jonathan Lethem, Jane Smiley, Janet Fitch and Donna Tartt. There are also nonfiction writers including Henry Louis Gates Jr., Lawrence Wright, Cheryl Strayed and Robert Caro; several poets have signed, including Carol Muske-Dukes, the former poet laureate of California.
The letter outlines a list of grievances, including "boycotting Hachette authors" by refusing to accept preorders on their books, slowing delivery of the books of Hachette authors, and suggesting on authors' pages that buyers "might prefer a book from a non-Hachette author instead."
In a note last month to his fellow scribes, Preston said Authors United should prepare for a long fight and highlighted the variety of writers who had signed the letter.