Authors take up fight against Amazon

Writers have taken pen to paper in protest against Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos and his company's methods and are calling for consumers, publishers and their fellow authors to boycott the online retail giant.

Authors take up fight against Amazon
Photo: DPA

The letter to German business paper Handelsblatt, which has been signed by more than 100 German authors, is in response to the company using its market position as a way to pressure lower book prices from publishers.

"We have to explain to our readers that the manipulation of the recommended books and delaying shipments of books by publishers who push back at Amazon's pressure tactics are everyday occurrences at Amazon," Regula Venske, the general secretary of PEN Germany, an organisation supporting writers, told the newspaper.

The letter will be published next week. According to Handelsblatt, bestsellers Ingrid Noll and Nele Neuhaus, as well as Tatort script-writer Fred Breinersdorfer are among those who have co-signed the letter. 

An Amazon spokesperson told news agency dpa that they cannot comment on a letter which they have yet to receive.

Germany is Amazon's biggest European market, accounting for 14.2 percent of Amazon's total sales last year.

On August 8, 2014, more than 900 authors, including John Grisham and Stephen King, signed a letter of support of book publisher Hatchette against Amazon. The publisher has been embroiled in a battle with Amazon over royalties and pricing rights for most of this year. Hatchette authors include James Patterson, Stephanie Meyer of the Twilight series and contemporary sci-fi favourite, Orson Scott Card.  

Amazon is in a similar battle with German publishing house Bonnier, which claims the retailers is creating an unfair book market. 

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