#FutureChat recap: Authors in the hot zone

Image - iStockphoto: Westbury
Image – iStockphoto: Westbury

Each Friday, join us for a #FutureChat session, live on Twitter, at 4 p.m. London time, 11 a.m. New York time, 8 a.m. Los Angeles, 5 p.m. Berlin, 3 p.m. GMT.

Still crazy from the heat

For all the posts, counter-posts, comments, counter-comments, and general online debate generated by the authors’ “dueling open letters,” as some have called them, our #FutureChat on Friday was a measured, grounded conversation.

With the Amazon-Hachette Book Group negotiations are prompting so much controversy, a congenial, respectful roundtable is hard to come by. It’s to all our community members’ credit that #FutureChat was such a constructive session.

There’s an interesting update here. Since Friday’s live conversation, the authors behind the second “open letter,” that Change.org petition, have updated how it’s presented. It now stands as an actual petition titled Stop fighting low prices and fair wages. Phrased as “petitioning Hachette,” it’s to be delivered to Michael Pietsch, Hachette Book Group CEO. It now ends in an appeal that supporters are thus sending to Pietsch, reading:

Please help put an end to these negotiations. Accept Amazon’s offer to create a 50/50 joint fund to support your authors. And then work on a resolution that keeps e-book prices reasonable and pays authors a fair wage.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the “50/50 joint fund,” it’s a challenge Amazon made to Hachette in a May 27 blog post. During a similar standoff with Macmillan, a pool of money was created and equally funded by Amazon and the publisher to help compensate authors whose books were not being sold on Amazon while the buy buttons were removed. Hachette rejected the Amazon overture to help authors, as reported by Jeffrey Trachtenberg in the Wall Street Journal. And as of this writing, the independents’ petition has more than 5,279 signatures. The original open letter, designed to become a full-page ad in the New York Times, is available in a PDF at the site of author Douglas Preston, who has spearheaded the effort to support Hachette, its authors and readers, in the ongoing negotiations. Its request remains:

We call on Amazon to resolve its dispute with Hachette without hurtingauthorsand without blocking or otherwise delaying the sale of booksto its customers

And never being given to provocation, myself — ahem — I opened #FutureChat Friday by asking our community here at The FutureBook whether readers will be motivated to act by these requests. Or will they say “a pox on both your houses” to both traditionally published and independent authors?

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

The FutureBook: #FutureChat recap: Authors in the hot zone

Read the full post at: The Bookseller’s The FutureBook






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