letter to doj

Lit Agents Appeal to DOJ Settlement; Joe Konrath Responds to Lit Agents

For those who haven’t been following what’s going on with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and publishers, here’s a link to learn more about it. Basically, it has to do with alleged collusion, allegedly keeping e-book prices higher, and interesting things like that.

The AAR, (Association of Author’s Representatives), isn’t pleased with a proposed settlement between the DOJ and publishers. And they banned together and wrote a long letter. Evidently there’s this *thing* called The Tunney Act. And people can write in and voice their opinions about any settlement with the government in any civil case. You can read more about it here, at the Dystel & Goderich site, a blog written by literary agents who seem to be less than thrilled with the settlement.

They even say this in the post, hoping to rally authors and readers to join them in this quest to save bookstores and publishing as we all know and love it:

If you are in agreement that the terms of the settlement are onerous for publishing and bookstores, you need to write a letter and send it to:

Although I’m not offering any comments in this post, I decided to pass on writing to the DOJ. I don’t see the point.

Now, in a post titled “AAR Fail,” bestselling self-published author, Joe Konrath, who isn’t shy about anything, responded to the AAR and to the Literary Agents who wrote the letter to the DOJ. He even published a copy of the letter, and responded to each paragraph with his own opinions. So far, I haven’t seen this letter anywhere else. It’s interesting to read the way it’s worded.

In any event, Konrath raises more than a few interesting points and if you are an author I would recommend reading his post in full. As I said, I have no comment. But I don’t think that Amazon…or anyone…is putting bookstores out of business. Bookstores were going out of business long before e-books became popular. I remember this happening to a number of bookstores in New Hope during the ten years I owned my art gallery in the 1990’s. They would come and go; someone with a poor business plan always lost a nest egg or a mid-life divorce settlement. At the time, the culprits that put small bookstores out of business weren’t web sites like Amazon. The big culprits back then were large chain bookstores like Borders. And we all know what happened to THEM.

Konrath makes an interesting point here:

Personally, I want my agents to be smart and to look out for my best interests. I want them to recognize they work for me, not the Big 6 or bookstores. And if I were repped by one of the 13 agents who signed their name to this, I’d be a lot angrier than I am right now.

The bigger picture for me with all this has nothing to do with the DOJ settlement or how people “feel” about it. My concern is who is going to help all the new authors who are doing things differently nowadays. I don’t see anyone looking out for their best interests.