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Malcolm Gladwell Speaks Out Against Amazon

amazon304Many members of the literary community have shown great concern about the Amazon vs. Hachette dispute. In an interview with the Financial Times weekend magazine, Malcolm Gladwell spoke out in disapproval of the online retail giant’s retaliatory actions.

While Gladwell did not voice an opinion about the actual feud, he objects to Amazon’s practice of making Hachette’s books unavailable for purchase and delaying order shipments. Gladwell “thought Amazon wanted to be nice to me. I thought their endgame was to woo authors. So, then why are they sabotaging us?”

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Is Bezos’ Super-Secret Campfire Cooling?

6629205_563906a381_zDid they stay or did they go? You might never know if your fave authors were feted at Jeff Bezos’ annual super-secret Campfire this past weekend. Word is the elite attendees are cautioned that what plays at Campfire, stays at Campfire.

In 2011, Bezos “flew in Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Alice Walker, Neil Gaiman, and Khaled Hosseini, among others, to a think tanky event he called ‘Amazon Campfire,’” Dennis Johnson noted in his Melville House blog. Since then, radio silence.

The Renaissance Weekend-like event of fabulous meals, fascinating formal talks led by folks like Neil Armstrong, horseback riding and skeet shooting, and sweet swag (down vests, fleeces) continued for the most part under the radar, until The New York Times reported Sunday on the fifth autumn weekend soiree under the headline, “A Writerly Chill at Bezos’ Fire.”

Seems a bit of the bonhomie has been siphoned off the warm, cozy atmosphere by the it’s-not-personal-it’s-business Amazon/Hachette dispute. The Times’ David Streitfeld wrote: “Some repeat Campfire attendees who have supported Hachette in the dispute say they were not invited this year…The event has become as divisive as the fight.” Read more

Authors United Calls on Amazon Board Members to Take a Stand

authorsunitedAuthors United, a group of more than 900 authors including Stephen KingMalcolm Gladwell and Suzanne Collins, which has been pushing Amazon to end its dispute with Hachette, has sent a letter to Amazon board of directors asking them: “Do you as an Amazon director approve of this policy of sanctioning books?”

The letter, which is published on the group’s site, calls on these 10 board members to take a side in the Amazon/Hachette dispute. Here is an excerpt:

We are confident that you, as an Amazon board member, prize books and freedom of expression as much as we do. Since its founding, Amazon has been a highly regarded and progressive brand. But if this is how Amazon continues to treat the literary community, how long will the company’s fine reputation last? We appeal to you, with hope and goodwill, to exercise your governance and put an end to the sanctioning of books, which are the very foundation of our culture and democracy.

Peter Carey Refused to Ghostwrite Assange Memoir

careyassangePeter Carey did not mince words in a rather juicy interview to Bookseller today where the two-time Booker-winning novelist discussed his forthcoming novel Amnesia, along with an alliterative list of other topics currently on his mind: Amazon, Assange and Americans up for Bookers.

On Julian Assange, Carey said that he was approached by his American editor Sonny Mehta and asked if he would like to co-write the book. “But I thought, no. Two control freaks? It wouldn’t work.”

Probably a wise move since we all know what happened to the unlucky fellow who did take up the offer, novelist Andrew O’Hagan.

Instead, Carey tapped his fellow Aussie for his own inspiration Read more

Authors United Plans Next Move Against Amazon

authorsunitedLast month more than 900 authors including Stephen KingMalcolm Gladwell and Suzanne Collins signed a letter  which ran as a full page ad in The New York Times, calling readers to email Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and ask him to end the company’s dispute with Hachette. Now the group is planning its next move.

Author Doug Preston, who is leading the group, sent out an email this week to authors that signed the petition letting them know that the group is planning their next move. In the email, he also warns that  Simon & Schuster authors could suffer the same fate as Hachette authors, as the publisher is reportedly in negotiations with Amazon.

Publishers Weekly has republished the email. Here is an excerpt: Read more

Amazon Introduces Tool to Self-Publish Children’s Books on Kindle

kdpkidsAmazon has introduced a new tool for children’s book creators to self-publish their works to the Kindle Store called KDP Kids.

The Kindle Kids’ Book Creator tool is designed to help kids book authors, publishers and illustrators build both illustrated books and chapter books and then publish them to the Kindle store. The tool allows makers to build in features such as text pop-ups. Once the files are ready, an author can categorize their work by age and grade range filters.

Authors will earn royalties from Amazon on book sales. Check it out: “Authors can earn royalties of up to 70%, while keeping their rights and maintaining control of their content. Authors can also choose to enroll their books in KDP Select for additional royalty opportunities like Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and access to marketing tools like Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions.”

Amazon to Give Out Scholarships to Students

amazonstudentAmazon has introduced a scholarship program to help American college students fund their way through school. The Amazon Student Scholarship is a merit-based contribution that will supply 50 undergrads with $5,000 in tuition money and $500 for textbooks.

Applicants must be members of Amazon Student and be enrolled in an accredited, nonprofit two- or four-year university in the U.S. Students can apply for the award now through November 20 for a Fall 2015 scholarship. Follow this link to apply.

Here is more about what the company is looking for: “Finalists will be selected based on GPA, community involvement, and leadership experience, and then invited to complete an essay to advance to the final round. Winners will be notified in April 2015 and the scholarship awarded in July 2015.”

 

Amazon’s eBook Collection Gets a New Book Every 5 Minutes

amazon304Feel like your novel is getting lost in a sea of other titles in Amazon’s Kindle store? It’s not surprising, as the store’s inventory is growing at an incredibly  rapid pace.

Just how fast? Author Claude Nougat has pegged it at 12 books an hour or about one new book every five minutes. He watched the collection grow from 3,376,174 results to 3,376,186 in an hour, in order to come to this conclusion. Here is more from his blog:

In 24 hours, the number had climbed to 3,378,960, that’s 2786 more books – let’s say, 2,800 a day, that’s over one million books per year – and probably growing at an exponential rate that I cannot calculate for the moment; I haven’t got the data though Amazon does (I wonder whether they are as scared as I am).

German Authors Unite Against Amazon

amazon304German-language writers have joined their English-language counterparts and organized a protest against Amazon.

More than 1,000 authors from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have come together to challenge Amazon for hurting authors in its negotiations with the Bonnier Group. In a letter addressed to readers and Amazon chief Jeff Bezos, writers have accused Amazon of not carrying popular books as a result of dispute. In addition, they claim that Amazon has manipulated recommendation lists at the expense of their books.

“We authors are of the opinion that no book seller hinder or even customers should discourage the purchase of books selling books,” reads the letter (translated in Google). “Amazon has no right,  to take ‘into jail,’ a group of authors, which is not involved in the conflict. On top of that a book seller should not inform its own clients incorrectly or hinder their purchases by artificially extended delivery times.” (Via The New York Times).

Amazon’s Russ Grandinetti Says Only Writers & Readers Are Necessary

amazon304Russ Grandinetti, senior vice president at Amazon & head of Kindle, thinks that the publishing industry is experiencing a major shift.

The Guardian published quote from Grandinetti over the weekend, in which the Amazon exec said: ”The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader. Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.”

Last week, more than 900 authors ran a letter to Amazon chief Jeff Bezos as a full page ad in The New York Times yesterday. The letter, which included signatures from bestselling authors Stephen KingMalcolm Gladwell and Suzanne Collins, asked Bezos to end the company’s dispute with Hachette. Amazon responded with an email to readers, calling readers to email the president of Hachette and demand lower eBook prices.

EDITOR’S NOTE: THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED SINCE IT WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED.

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