Lee Child, the bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels, revealed why he cares about the Amazon-Hachette dispute -- and it's not about e-book royalties. Child wrote, "it’s a thus-far-and-no-further thing for me. I don’t want Amazon to be the only publisher."
According to Child, who is not published by Hachette, what the "half rational, half emotional, and flawed" disagreement comes down to is two giant companies who refuse to either meet in the middle or walk away. But rather than get caught up in the minutia of the current disagreement over e-book terms, Child is concerned with the long-game.
“I've known Amazon people for 17 years, dozens of them, old hires, new hires, quitters, true believers, through dinner party talk, pillow talk, all kinds of talk," he wrote. "[T]he big deal is – Amazon is a publisher too. Not a very good one yet...but Bezos never gives up, and he wants Amazon to be the only publisher, and he’ll do what it takes to make it so."
Child was one of more than 900 writers who signed a full-page New York Times ad bought by author advocacy group Authors United in August that accused Amazon of taking "selective retaliation" against writers, and was writing in response to self-publishing pioneer JA Konrath, who took Authors United to task on his website for, among other things, "Whining in public, wasting money on a $104k NYT ad, and whining in public some more."
Not that Konrath and other self-publisher shouldn't go ahead and publish with Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon's self-publishing program. "Hell yes, make hay while the sun shines," wrote Child, who sees KDP as a "short-term tactic."
Child ends by calling for all authors to "make common cause."
But the plea appears to have fallen on deaf ears. As Konrath writes in a second part of the blog where he responds to each point that Child makes: "Right now, Amazon's stance aligns with what is best for the majority of authors. If it continues along those lines, great. If it doesn't, I don't plan to be at the mercy of a large company."