In a statement circulated to members, and shared with the public, the Authors Guild today confirmed that it hosted a meeting on August 1 between a group of authors and the Department of Justice, in an effort draw antitrust scrutiny of Amazon's practices.
While the statement does not elaborate on any specific antitrust violations, AG officials confirmed they have submitted a white paper to the DoJ. The move comes as Hachette and Amazon remain mired in a tough negotiation over new terms of sale. It also comes as a group of authors, dubbed Authors United, plans to, in the Guild's explanation, "make another request to the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for potential antitrust violations."
The full statement from the Authors Guild is below:
The Authors Guild’s mission, since its founding in 1912, has been to support working writers.
The Guild has consistently opposed Amazon’s recent and ruthless tactics of directly targeting Hachette authors, which have made these authors into helpless victims in a business dispute between two big corporations. This action has caused thousands of writers to see a significant drop in their royalty checks. The Authors Guild challenges this threat to the literary ecosystem, one that jeopardizes the individual livelihoods of authors.
The Guild started its own initiative to invite governmental scrutiny of Amazon’s outsize market share and anticompetitive practices in the publishing industry. Last summer the Guild prepared a White Paper on Amazon’s anticompetitive conduct, circulating it to the United States Department of Justice and other government entities. As a result of our request for the initiation of an investigation of Amazon, we hosted a meeting with the DOJ in our offices on August 1 so that a group of authors could make their case directly to the government, as the Wall Street Journal reported today.
The Guild has been working closely with the grassroots group Authors United—founded by Authors Guild Council Member Douglas Preston—which will be making another request to the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for potential antitrust violations.
Our mission is to protect and support working writers. When a retailer, which sells close to half the books in the country, deliberately suppresses the works of certain authors, those authors are harmed, and we speak out. We will continue to oppose any business tactics, from publishers or retailers, that interfere with working writers’ ability to present their products in a fair marketplace and to flourish within their chosen field. Our goal is to ensure that the markets for books and ideas remain both vigorous and free.