‘We Demand Parity’: Labor Unrest Among Amazon’s Authors

Image - iStockphoto: Informativos
Image – iStockphoto: Informativos

“Self-Published Authors Have Never Had a Level Playing Field On Amazon”

If I were writing a television newscast script for an anchor on a US network right now, the first line of this story would be:

Has Amazon finally gone too far?

Fortunately, I’m not writing for the crowd that enjoys the network TV cliché-fest because simple, this just isn’t. In fact, if you’re a collector of nostalgia-for-past-uproars, let me remind you that just three weeks ago, the publishing world’s loud, hot summer looked far, far simpler than it does now. Cast your mind back with me as the flashback jiggly thing happens on our screen…

  • Remember that fond moment when a group of traditionally published authors led by Douglas Preston put together a petition for other authors to sign, protesting Amazon’s tactics in its negotiations with the Big Five publisher Hachette?
  • And remember when a group of independent authors led by Hugh Howey and Joe Konrath put together a responding petition overnight calling on Hachette to “stop fighting low prices and fair wages?”
  • Traditionally published authors and self-publishing authors were squaring off, exhorting their colleagues to take one side or another, everybody knew where they stood and they stood up for what they knew.

Those were the days, weren’t they? You could just tweet your way onto this side or that side and enjoy watching our main mouths chew each others’ legs off.

At the very least, it looked as if the self-publishing camp that swore Prestonite would weaken you were surely, surely way down with Amazon, right? Well, of course right. A few excerpts from the independents’ petition text:

While we are saddened that writers and readers are being affected by the negotiations between these two corporations, Amazon is not the one to blame… Amazon pays writers nearly six times what publishers pay us. Amazon allows us to retain ownership of our works. Amazon provides us the freedom to express ourselves in more creative ways, adding to the diversity of literature. Unlike the New York “Big Five,” Amazon allows every writer access to their platform. Hachette believes you’ll read whatever Hachette tells you to, and rejects and dismisses many worthy writers. Amazon has built a business based on the belief that you, the reader, can make your own choices about what you want to read.

What could have changed what seemed like a relatively clean divide between self-publishing authors and Amazon?

Read full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son | @Porter_Anderson

Writing on the Ether: ‘We Demand Parity’: Labor Unrest Among Amazon’s Authors

Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com




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