a warm welcome from Bill and Beverly Martin

July 2014
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What is Truth?
Filed under: General
Posted by: site admin @ 6:44 am

I don’t mean to imply a comparison between eternal verities and publishing, but in the Amazon Hatchette mess there does not seem to me to be a lot of ambiguity about the nature of truth. This is about two very large jungle cats fighting over who gets a bigger share of the prey. It’s authors, however, who create the content over which they are fighting, and as such it’s we who are the prey. So while I’m not as it happens published by HBG, I definitely feel the hot breath of the predators. In which context I’d like to share an excerpt from the open letter written by Richard Russo co-Vice President of the Authors Guild.

“… because it is the writing life itself we seek to defend, we’re not interested in a short-term windfall to some of the writers we represent. What we care about is a healthy ecosystem where all writers, both traditionally and independently published, can thrive. We believe that ecosystem should be as diverse as possible, containing traditional big publishers, smaller publishers, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores, as well as both e-books and print books. We believe that such an ecosystem cannot exist while entities within it are committed to the eradication of other entities.”

This in response to Amazon’s offer to turn over all the e-book royalties on the sale of their books to the HBG writers currently in the line of fire. Which, as this article in Slate points out, they can’t legally do, anyway.

Final point: I’m no Amazon hater. I am thrilled to have them selling my traditionally published books and when every once in a while I get an e-mail promotion from them that includes books of mine I dance the happy dance. I love that I can independantly publish e-book encores of older novels that have no other digital life. And I am frankly awestruck by the chuzpah of Jeff Bezos. Drone deliveries are apparently next. I wish I’d had enough imagination to create such a character.

But in this dispute, respectfully as well as sincerely (that being the buzzword of the moment), I agree with Russo and with Hatchette.

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