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A full page ad in Sunday s New York Times will blast Amazon for hurting authors, whose livelihoods depend on the giant online bookseller.

Hundreds of prominent writers signed the printed letter, among them some Seattle authors.

Of course I fear speaking out on this topic and the effect it could have on my own book sales but I still have to, said Jennie Shortridge, whose latest novel, Love Water Memory, is sold on Amazon as well as in bookstores.

Shortridge is among more than 900 authors, including bestselling writers like John Grisham and James Patterson, who signed a letter criticizing Amazon for the way it's handling a dispute with a publisher, Hachette Book Group.

They accuse the online retailer of slowing delivery of Hachette s books, refusing to discount its works, and saying its books are unavailable.

It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation...None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage, the group called Authors United wrote in its letter.

I d really like the public to know exactly what s going on and what happens because of a dispute like this, it s not just the publisher, it s not just the retailer, it s the author s career at stake when this happens through no fault of their own, said Shortridge in an interview, Saturday, in Queen Anne, where she lives.

Amazon fired back in a letter of its own, saying the publisher has gone to great lengths to come to an agreement with Hachette on e-book sales, which are at the center of the argument.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we just talk. We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store, Amazon wrote.

The authors say they want Amazon to stop stifling book sales as part of the dispute with Hachette.

Amazon meanwhile is urging customers to contact the publisher and tell it to stop what they say are unreasonable stonewalling tactics.

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