In a welcome sign that the anti-Amazon camp is not having things all its own way in the battle for hearts and minds between the Bezos Behemoth and Hachette, a group of self published and independent authors have got together to launch a petition on Change.org in favor of Amazon, calling on Hachette to: “Stop fighting low prices and fair wages.” As at the time of writing, it stands at 4788 signatures – 4789 as soon as I’ve had a chance to add mine.
The petition itself, launched by “concerned readers and writers,” is fairly short, and reverts to Amazon’s original proposal – refused by Hachette – to create a joint fund to compensate authors for any loss in the course of the dispute:
Hachette, Michael Pietsch, HBG CEO
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.
The explanatory blurb is of course far more detailed, and spends a lot of time on educating the public on the balance and backstory of the media coverage around the dispute:
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. The players that deserve your derision in this standoff are Hachette in particular, and the New York “Big Five” in general.
Some notable proponents of self-publishing have already appended their comments to the original petition. Hugh Howey writes: “Signing as a lover of stories and those who enjoy them.” David Gaughran wrote a more extended comment:
Amazon has done more than any other company to create a level playing field where hundreds (and probably thousands) of independent authors like me can make a living from book sales for the very first time. As a reader, I recognize that Amazon has done more than any other company to create the digital market, and to lower prices for readers. Publishers are fighting to increase those prices and to prevent Amazon from discounting. As a writer and a reader I think this would be an awful, regressive move – probably designed to protect the status quo and the millionaire status of a small group of bestselling authors. Don’t believe the anti-Amazon hype!
So the petition seems to be not only attracting signatures but also further insights as well. It’ll be interesting to see how far this goes in redressing the balance of coverage in media worldwide, which has been markedly anti-Amazon.