A bunch of literary heavy-hitters have taken out a $140,000 advertisement/open letter, written by author Douglas Preston under the auspices of “Authors United,” that’s going to run in the New York Times tomorrow that sides with the publisher Hachette Group in their on-going business dispute with Amazon over ebook pricing. There are lots of points in the open letter that I don’t agree with, or that I believe are mis-represented, but one phrase, one example of hypocrisy, stood out and I had to call Doug on it. I believe it reveals what this dispute is really about. Here’s the letter I wrote to him:
You wrote in your ad: “As writers–most of us not published by Hachette–we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want.”
Does that same sentiment also apply to the brick-and-mortar bookstores, from big chains to indies, that refuse to stock paperback books from Amazon Publishing’s imprints Thomas & Mercer, 47North, Montlake, etc? If so, why don’t I see the same level of outrage from Authors United, or the Authors Guild, over this widespread ban, which has been going on for years and harms hundreds of authors?
The list of authors, many of them ITW and Authors Guild members, directly affected by bookstores refusing to carry Amazon-imprint titles includes Marcus Sakey, Kevin J. Anderson, Ray Banks, Alan Russell, Greg Bear, Ian Fleming, Ed McBain, Max Allan Collins, Stephanie Bond, Dana Cameron, Leslie Charteris, Diane Capri, Orson Scott Card, Sean Chercover, Deepak Chopra, John Connolly, Bill Crider, Ed Gorman, Peter David, Nelson DeMille, Aaron Elkins, Christa Faust, Stephen W. Frey, Jim Fusilli, Joel Goldman, David Hewson, Jonathan Maberry, Penny Marshall, Robert R. McCammon, Marcia Muller, Susan Orlean,Julie Ortolon, Tom Piccirilli, Daniel Pinkwater, Steven Pressfield, Robert Randisi, Christopher Rice, John Saul, Tom Schreck, Neal Stephenson, and R.L. Stine, to name just a few.
I have enormous respect for you and the authors who signed your ad. Many of them are also friends of mine. But the fact that you, and the other authors listed in the ad, are upset by the Hachette situation and haven’t shown any concern over Amazon Publishing titles being banned by bookstores speaks volumes about what the real issue is here.
Today the Mystery Writers of America announced their 2014 Edgar Award nominees, honoring terrific mysteries published 2013. It’s great to see so many of my friends on the list!
Sandrine’s Case by Thomas H. Cook (Grove Atlantic – The Mysterious Press) The Humans by Matt Haig (Simon & Schuster) Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books) How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books) Standing in Another Man’s Grave by Ian Rankin (Hachette Book Group – Reagan Arthur Books) Until She Comes Home by Lori Roy (Penguin Group USA – Dutton Books)
BEST FIRST NOVEL BY AN AMERICAN AUTHOR
The Resurrectionist by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton) Ghostman by Roger Hobbs (Alfred A. Knopf) Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman (Minotaur Books) Red Sparrow by Jason Matthews (Simon & Schuster – Scribner) Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (HarperCollins Publishers)
BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow Paperbacks) Almost Criminal by E. R. Brown (Dundurn) Joe Victim by Paul Cleave (Simon & Schuster – Atria Books) Joyland by Stephen King (Hard Case Crime) The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood (Penguin Group USA – Penguin Books) Brilliance by Marcus Sakey (Amazon Publishing – Thomas and Mercer)
BEST FACT CRIME
Duel with the Devil: The True Story of How Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr Teamed Up to Take on America’s First Sensational Murder Mystery by Paul Collins (Crown Trade Group) Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal by Michael D’Antonio (Thomas Dunne Books) The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder by Charles Graeber (Grand Central Publishing – Twelve) The Secret Rescue: An Untold Story of American Nurses and the Medics Behind Nazi Lines by Cate Lineberry (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company) The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)
Maigret, Simenon and France: Social Dimensions of the Novels and Stories by Bill Alder (McFarland & Company) America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture by Erik Dussere (Oxford University Press) Pimping Fictions: African American Crime Literature and the Untold Story of Black Pulp Publishing by Justin Gifford (Temple University Press) Ian Fleming by Andrew Lycett (St. Martin’s Press) Middlebrow Feminism in Classic British Detective Fiction by Melissa Schaub (Palgrave Macmillan)
BEST SHORT STORY
“The Terminal” – Kwik Krimesby Reed Farrel Coleman (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer) “So Long, Chief” – Strand Magazineby Max Allan Collins & Mickey Spillane (The Strand) “The Caston Private Lending Library & Book Depository” – Bibliomysteriesby John Connolly (Mysterious) “There are Roads in the Water” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazineby Tina Corey (Dell Magazines) “There That Morning Sun Does Down” – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazineby Tim L. Williams (Dell Magazines)
Strike Three, You’re Dead by Josh Berk (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR) Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne (Penguin Young Readers Group – Dial) P.K. Pinkerton and the Petrified Man by Caroline Lawrence (Penguin Young Readers Group – Putnam Juvenile) Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Disney Publishing Worldwide – Disney-Hyperion) One Came Home by Amy Timberlake (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR)
BEST YOUNG ADULT
All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry (Penguin Young Readers Group – Viking Juvenile) Far Far Away by Tom McNeal (Random House Children’s Books – Alfred A. Knopf BFYR) Criminal by Terra Elan McVoy (Simon & Schuster – Simon Pulse) How to Lead a Life of Crime by Kirsten Miller (Penguin Young Readers Group – Razorbill) Ketchup Clouds by Amanda Pitcher (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
BEST TELEVISION EPISODE TELEPLAY
“Episode 3” – Luther, Teleplay by Neil Cross (BBC Worldwide) “Episode 1” – The Fall,Teleplay by Allan Cubitt (Netflix) “Legitimate Rape” – Law & Order: SVU, Teleplay by Kevin Fox & Peter Blauner (NBC Universal) “Variations Under Domestication” – Orphan Black, Teleplay by Will Pascoe (BBC Worldwide) “Pilot” – The Following Teleplay by Kevin Williamson (Fox/Warner Bros. Television)
ROBERT L. FISH MEMORIAL AWARD
“That Wentworth Letter” – Criminal Element’s Malfeasance Occasional By Jeff Soloway (St. Martin’s Press)
Aunt Agatha’s Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Michigan
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THE SIMON & SCHUSTER – MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD
(Presented at MWA’s Agents & Editors Party on Wednesday, April 30, 2014)
There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron (HarperCollins Publishers – William Morrow) Fear of Beauty by Susan Froetschel (Prometheus – Seventh Street Books) The Money Kill by Katia Lief (HarperCollins Publishers – Harper) Cover of Snow by Jenny Milchman (Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine Books) The Sixth Station by Linda Stasi (Forge Books)