Writers Break Silence on Secret Amazon Retreat
The bookseller's literary weekend, called Campfire, is famously secretive and lavish
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2014 2:30 AM CDT
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks on stage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Seattle.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

(Newser) – Not much is known about the literary weekend Amazon founder Jeff Bezos hosts in Santa Fe every year, other than that it is lavish and the writers are showered with gifts and even a suitcase in which to carry the gifts home, occasionally on private jets. But the spare-no-expense "Campfire" retreat comes at a price—the silence of the writers who attend. This year may prove different, however, as tensions continue to build between Amazon and the fourth-largest publisher Hachette over e-book pricing and, more essentially, profit margins. "The literary world overflows with tension and invective these days," reports the New York Times, which was able to get several writers to break their silence and open up about the weekend and the larger conflict. "People are choosing sides."

This past weekend, which was supposed to be the fifth Campfire event (but which Amazon would not even confirm took place), some writers asked not to be invited back, while others simply weren't invited at all. In Santa Fe, not one local author has been invited this year, and some in the faction are "fuming" at the snub, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. The event follows six months of thinly veiled vitriol between the bookseller and the book publisher, and more than 900 writers openly criticized Amazon in an ad in the Times in August for essentially "boycotting" Hachette authors, reports Publishers Weekly. (Check out which side Stephen King takes.)