Monday, May 3, 2010

Tattered and torn, Authors Guild reinstalls Scott Turow as president

Struggling to repair its tattered public image and mend torn relations with a membership that has grown tired of a top-down “Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Them” approach to business, the cloistered leadership of the Authors Guild shelved Roy Blount Jr. and reinstalled lawyer and author Scott Turow as president at its recent annual meeting in New York City. Blount’s disastrous four-year tenure was marked by a number of public embarrassments for the dysfunctional organization, including:

• Guild executive director Paul Aiken’s comical statement in The Wall Street Journal that the experimental text-reading feature in Amazon’s Kindle 2 e-book reader does not “have the right to read a book out loud”

• U.S. Federal Judge Denny Chin’s stunning rejection of the landmark Google Book Settlement

• Guild board member Douglas Preston’s elitist declaration in The New York Times regarding the public outcry over rising ebook prices that “The sense of entitlement of the American consumer is absolutely astonishing. It’s the Wal-Mart mentality, which in my view is very unhealthy for our country. It’s this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.”

Scott Turow, a longtime Guild insider who previously served as its president in the late 1990s, has contributed nearly $50,000 to the Authors Guild Foundation since 2000.

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