Showdown Between Authors, Bookstores, and Amazon

This week, Food for Thought Books in Amherst, Massachusetts announced it’s closing, after 38 years. It joins a growing list of independent bookstores — facing fierce competition from online sales — to pack up. And the news comes during a public dispute between the country’s largest online retailer - Amazon.com – and a French publishing house called Hachette.  Industry observers say Amazon wants the publisher, which handles best-selling authors like Malcolm Gladwell and David Sedaris, to bring down the price of its books.

As the showdown continues, many Hachette authors say Amazon is holding their books hostage — refusing to sell them on the website or delaying shipments. Bestselling author Cathi Hanauer of Northampton is so mad, she’s urging consumers to avoid Amazon altogether. Hanauer, whose books are not affected in the dispute, tells NEPR’s Karen Brown that many authors consider this a David and Goliath moment.

Cathi Hanauer

Cathi Hanauer,                            photo by Phoebe Jones