Earlier this week , author Douglas Preston—from his quaint-but-internet-connected summer shack on the coast of Maine—posted a letter imploring his readers to write Amazon's chief executive Jeff Bezos and demand that he stop taking books as hostages in its on-going negotiations with Hachette Book Group. Some 900 other authors, including the likes of Stephen King and Donna Tartt, have joined him in his call to action. Together they call themselves Authors United, and they've taken out a full-page ad in Sunday's New York Times to get their message out.
Amazon, known 'round these parts as the "Cthulhu of retail," saw its bad PR stretch got worse last night when Stephen Colbert took up the sword. Colbert's books are published by Grand Central, an imprint of Hachette Book Group. Hachette is the company currently struggling with Amazon over pricing. In a negotiating tactic straight out of a Coen brothers movie about rotund 1930s industrialists, Amazon is artificially delaying the shipment of Hachette books while driving a hard line.
In the past week, we've heard from a parade of Amazon insiders—both warehouse workers and white collar employees—speaking about the serious flaws in the company's intense, sometimes inhuman work environment. Today: two more employees speak about high turnover, panic attacks, and the Amazon's military lifestyle.