This morning I received an email from Amazon, with details about the dispute with Hachette. It was a call to action, asking readers and authors to write to Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch (Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com) and to CC Amazon (email@example.com), asking that Hachette accept one of Amazon's offers to remove authors from the middle of the debate. It also made the case for lowering ebook prices and increasing the royalty paid to authors. I support both of these ideas, for multiple reasons.
You can find the Amazon letter at www.readersunited.com.
I would encourage all readers and authors to read the letter and write emails of their own. This is a watershed moment in publishing. We can create something new and amazing here. So please, take action.
My email to Michael Pietsch appears below.
Hi Mr. Pietsch,
I'm hoping I'm one of a few million people to email you. I'm an author and (of course) a reader, and I have followed this debacle between Hachette and Amazon since it started. I've read pleas and diatribes and perfectly logical arguments from both sides, and I'm convinced that Hacehette is on the wrong side in this.
Here's the thing—I love books, and the publishing industry. It's the kind of industry that fuels dreams and gives hope. For most of my life, I chased one of those dreams, to "break into print," and see my name on the spines of books lining store shelves. So I have no animosity toward publishers. But as an author, I can say for certain that not all authors are united on this issue.
I do love the publishing industry, and I want to see it thrive. This is your chance.
You're at a crossroads here, and it's really familiar territory to consumers. We have seen this happen with music and retail, and it's happening with television.
There's this tendency to hold on tight to how things were done in the past, as if changing or growing would somehow destroy everything.
Maybe it will. Maybe it's inevitable that the old guard fades away and something entirely new takes its place. Amazon has certainly created a venue in which a lot of old guard businesses have to fight for their survival. It has also opened paths for small and independent businesses to become competitive in a worldwide marketplace.
Empowering the "little guy" versus keeping the status quo? Which side do you really want to be on?
Whenever changes like this start, you can either fight the future or you can look for and seize opportunities. Right now, Hachette is doing the former. You can change that.
Imagine if Hachette embraced this opportunity.
You could be in the lead for a whole new revolution in the publishing industry! Rather than an adversary, Amazon could become a partner in creating something that makes reading an integral part of people's lives again!
Bend, and you can be a part of a revolution, reaping all the benefits of these changes. Remain rigid, and you'll eventually splinter and break as the whirlwind of progress storms around you.
As I said, I'm an author. I want you to take authors out of the middle on this. I want authors to be able to make more from their work—to have a better shot at a greater level of success and financial stability. This is a way to breathe life back into the mid-list, and to give new authors a shot at becoming bestsellers. It's a way to nurture new talent that might have gone undiscovered before. It's the key to breathing life back into what is, frankly, a dying industry.
You could be a part of that, and be the hero of this story.
I'm also a reader. I want books to be affordable and plentiful, so that I can easily discover new writers and new works. I should be able to buy books with the same level of consideration I give to buying apps for my smartphone. I want to think nothing of buying a book, because the value and reward of reading it far outstrips the "cover" price.
Please—accept one of Amazon's offers, for the sake of your authors. And for the sake of your readers, be wise. Be bold. Be willing to adapt and grow. You can help the publishing industry have a new life.
Make the right choice.
Kevin Tumlinson, M.Ed.
Wordslinger | Author | Marketing Smartypants
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