Hugh Howey on Author’s United Letter to the DOJ: “I think it’s hilarious!”


On Monday, July 13th, US booksellers, (mostly trad pubbed) authors, and agents banded together to ask the Department of Justice (DOJ) “to investigate the practices of the dominant retailer and perhaps monopoly of the book-selling world”: Amazon.

The missive, sent by Authors United, a group with about 1,500 members, founded and headed up by Douglas Preston, which The New York Times noted, includes some of the most prominent and popular writers in the country, talks about Amazon’s, “abuse of its dominance in the world of books,” and the negative impact of this monopoly on free expression and all members of the publishing world. The American Booksellers Association (ABA), the Authors Guild, and the Association of Authors’ Representatives have all expressed their support.

The letter goes on to claim that Amazon’s monopolistic practices stretch over the past year, including their treatment of Hachette Book Group’s sales to pressure Hachette into giving them what they wanted, selling books below cost, and generally holding a position of dominance over book selling and book buying. Amazon now controls more than 75 percent of online sales of print books, more than 65 percent of e-book sales, more than 40 percent of new book sales, and approximately 85 percent of e-book sales for self-published titles.

Authors United and ABA believe that Amazon is a monopoly, although the reality is that Apple, Nook and others control more than 10% of the market. Quoting the Authors United letter, “Today a single company, Amazon, has gained unprecedented power in America’s market for books. We are not experts in antitrust law… but we agree… that Amazon’s dominant position makes it a monopoly as a seller of books and a monopsony as a buyer of books.”

IndieReader reached out to science fiction author Hugh Howey, who has gone both the indie and traditionally published route, and who is the co-founder of Author Earnings, for his take on the situation.  His response? “I think it’s hilarious. Amazon has done more good for literature than any other organization in my lifetime. They make books available to people without bookstores nearby, and at great prices. And they pay authors nearly 6 times what publishers do.”

Looks like the ball’s in your court, DOJ!



The beloved 1980s comic strip “Bloom County” was once confined to print newspapers, and then only to the memories of its readers. But now, comic creator Berkeley Breathed has decided to revive the old comic strip and self-publish it on a platform where its old fans can have access to it: Facebook.

Breathed has revived “Bloom County” twice before, both times as brief returns to print. His satire of social and political current events gained him a huge following and even a Pulitzer for editorial cartooning. But despite the popularity, Breathed said of his job with the comic strips, “Deadlines and dead-tree media took the fun out of a daily craft that was only meant to be fun.”

Now, by becoming his own boss and self-publishing on Facebook, Breathed is hoping to revive the series for the original fans. ““I’ll publish on Facebook, as that’s where my old school readers can reach me,” he’s quoted as saying in a New York Times article. “I want to hear from them — hear how my characters played a role in their lives — hear how they might still.”

Lack of deadlines and the ability to connect with readers played a major part in Breathed’s return to “Bloom County,” but he also cites “a renewed national ridiculousness” sparking from Donald Trump’s return to politics. Self-publishing seems to be an excellent solution for Breathed to comment on said ridiculousness and to continue the work he and his readers loved.


Looking for a new indie gay erotica title to read this weekend?  Then look no further than Kirk Cameron & the Crocoduck of Chaos Magick, written by Mandy De Sandra and pictured at left, which Gawker calls, “a 7,500-word tale of revenge that skewers Cameron’s anti-gay, anti-evolution agenda by having him give a Crocoduck a blowjob and fuck a morphing Jesus made out of cheese right in its cheesy stigmata-holes. (Two Boner Stabones from Growing Pains, also made out of cheese, watch the scene while they 69 each other.)”

Need we say more?


It’s common knowledge that authors need social media sites like Twitter to market and reach out to their readers. But Twitter can be a difficult medium to work with, considering the vast amount of content and the lack of organization of them. That’s what AuthorBee’s new Twitter-focused app can help to fix.

AuthorBee, known as “a storytelling, social media filter, and content management platform,” recently launched a new web platform with several features that can help authors organize their tweets. The new platform allows users to collect tweets on specific topics and then organize them in a sequential “story” format. In this way, authors viewing their timelines can see related tweets put together in groups and can easily navigate through different subjects. More than that, authors can add new content to any particular category, making it easier for their followers to monitor their tweets and find individual authors amid the many users they may follow. By organizing timelines into stories, AuthorBee helps both authors and readers use Twitter better.

If you need something to read this weekend (aside from the novella mentioned above), check out IR’s list where indies count.

Have a great weekend, Indie Readers!