WRITERS and artists are notoriously difficult to corral; it’s both built into the job description and something that keeps the creative class from asserting itself. But lately a number of scribes have united in an effort to resist the bullying of the online bookseller.
The New York Times reports :
Now, hundreds of other writers, including some of the world’s most distinguished, are joining the coalition. Few if any are published by Hachette. And they have goals far broader than freeing up the Hachette titles. They want the Justice Department to investigate Amazon for illegal monopoly tactics.
They also want to highlight the issue being debated endlessly and furiously on writers’ blogs: What are the rights and responsibilities of a company that sells half the books in America and controls the dominant e-book platform?
The agent Andrew Wylie, who was opposing Amazon before it was cool, has enlisted his clients Philip Roth, Salman Rushdie and Orham Pamuk in the fight.
And one of my favorite writers, Ursula K. Le Guin (right), has come out very decisively on the issue.
Ms. Le Guin, author of “The Left Hand of Darkness,” the Earthsea series and other award-winning works, will be presented her medal by Neil Gaiman, a regular attendee at the all-expenses-paid Campfire weekend for writershosted by Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive. She has strong feelings about the Amazon-Hachette dispute.
“We’re talking about censorship: deliberately making a book hard or impossible to get, ‘disappearing’ an author,” Ms. Le Guin wrote in an email. “Governments use censorship for moral and political ends, justifiable or not. Amazon is using censorship to gain total market control so they can dictate to publishers what they can publish, to authors what they can write, to readers what they can buy. This is more than unjustifiable, it is intolerable.”
CultureCrash is delighted with the rare sight of artists banding together to fight and protect their own ecosystem. Is it enough to make a dent in what’s essentially monopoly capitalism? We’ll keep watching.