UPDATES with more information: More than 900 authors including heavyweights Stephen King and John Grisham lent their names to a Sunday New York Times ad decrying Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for pressure tactics hurting writers published by Hachette. The Paris-based owner of Little, Brown, Grand Central, Hyperion and other publishers is locked in a very public pricing battle with the online retailer. While Amazon has repeatedly said it tries to bring consumers the lowest price, the writers pointed to thuggish tactics to delay shipping and convince its customers to read authors not published by those imprints.
“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,” the authors write in the ad, which took up two full pages. “It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation.”
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The open letter was written by Douglas Preston, who writes thrillers that Hachette publishes. Other prominent authors that signed letter include Paul Auster, Daniel Okrent (Last Call), Ann Patchett, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Richard Russo, Luc Sante (Low Life), David Baldacci, James Patterson, Tom Perotta, former CIA operative Valerie Plame, Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials), Pulitzer Prize-winning historians Taylor Branch and Robert Caro, Kim Stanley Robinson, Michael Chabon, Susan Cheever, Barbara Kingsolver, Maxine Hong Kingston, Gail Sheehy (Passages), Jon Krakauer (Into Thin Air), Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), Robert Dallek, Junot Diaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch), Calvin Trillin, Scott Turow, Susan Faludi, Jay McInerny (Bright Lights Big City), Hollywood biographer Neal Gabler, Simon Winchester and Malcolm Gladwell (Blink).