The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Lifestyle

July 4, 2014

Stephen King, Donna Tartt among those backing anti-Amazon letter

— NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King, Nora Roberts and Donna Tartt are among the hundreds of authors who have added their names to an online letter criticizing Amazon.com for restricting access to works published by Hachette Book Group.

The letter, initiated by Hachette author Douglas Preston, urged Amazon to resolve its standoff with Hachette over e-book prices and other issues. Readers were asked to email Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at jeff@amazon.com and "tell him what you think." Amazon has slowed delivery on books by Preston and other Hachette authors, limited discounts and removed pre-order tags for upcoming releases.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Preston said he was receiving so many emails of support that he felt like "a data entry clerk." Known for such thrillers as "Blasphemy" and "The Codex," Preston said he admired Amazon and appreciated how many of his books have sold through the online retailer. But he objected to Amazon's "scorched earth tactics."

"A lot of pain is being inflicted on innocent third parties," he said, referring to authors whose books have been affected.

Preston's next book, "The Lost Island," is a collaboration with Lincoln Child that comes out in August. Only the audio edition can be pre-ordered.

"Our focus for years has been to build a bookstore that benefits authors and readers alike," read a statement issued Thursday by Amazon. "We take seriously and regret the impact it has when, however infrequently, a terms dispute with a publisher affects authors. We look forward to resolving this issue with Hachette as soon as possible."

Other authors endorsing the letter, which appears on http://www.prestonchild.com/storage/med/preston/220_AmazonStatement.pdf ., include James Patterson, Andrew Solomon and Scott Turow. Some on the list are Hachette writers, but many are published by rival companies. The authors include best-selling novelists such as King and Roberts, prize-winning historians such as Robert Caro and Taylor Branch, children's authors Laurie Halse Anderson and Mary Pope Osborne, Pulitzer Prize winner Tartt and memoir writers Elizabeth Gilbert and Mary Karr.

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