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Novelists Saunders, Spiotta Join 900

Decrying Strong-Arm Amazon Tactics



Local writers George Saunders and Dana Spiotta were among 900 authors who took out a two-page ad in today’s New York Times decrying Amazon “directly targetting” authors to extract contract concessions from their publisher, Hachette.

Sherman Alexie, who delivered SUNY Oneonta’s Mills Distinguished Lecture last September after his 2007 novel “Flight” was the college’s first “common read,” also signed the ad.

They join John Grisham, Stephen King, James Patterson and most leading U.S. writers in adding their names to the ad.


Saunders, who teaches at Syracuse University, is living in the Oneonta area, although he has been keeping a low profile locally. Last year’s prize-winning short story collection, “Tenth of December,” was published to national raves.

Spiotta was proprietor of The Rose & Kettle restaurant in Cherry Valley while writing “Eat the Document,” which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. After a year at the American Academy in Rome, she also is teaching at Syracuse.

The past several months, the ad reads, Amazon has been:

• Boycotting Hachette authors, by refusing to accept pre-orders on Hachette authors’ books and eBooks, claiming they are “unavailable.”

• Refusing to discount the prices of many of Hachette authors’ books.

• Slowing the delivery of thousands of Hachette authors’ books to Amazon customers, indicating that delivery will take as long as several weeks on most titles.

• Suggesting on some Hachette authors’ pages that readers might prefer a book from a non-Hachette author instead.

“Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business,” the ad reads.

The authors encourage “loyal readers” to e-mail Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ( “and tell him what you think.”


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