Puzzling policies at Amazon show lack of respect to artists [Updated]
George O’Connor — author, creator of First Second’s Journey Into Mohawk Country and artist on the upcoming Ball Peen Hammer — set up an author’s page on Amazon.com. As the page was only displaying the books he wrote, he asked the online retailer to add some of the books he illustrated to it as well.
He received an email back saying the author pages “only support contributors who have authored or co-authored a major portion of a work and whose name is also featured on the title’s cover.” Yes, his name is on the cover of the books he’d like to list, and as the illustrator of these graphic novels, it seems pretty ludicrous that he wouldn’t be considered a “co-author” of these graphic novels, if that’s the term you want to use. O’Connor talks about it in more detail here, and in the comments section he shares a second email from Amazon:
As mentioned in previous correspondence, our records indicate you are not the primary contributor of the titles in question. Currently, Author Central and Author Pages only support contributors who are primary authors or co-authors. A primary contributor is a person who has authored or co-authored a piece of work, whose name is also featured on the title’s cover.
We recognize that the roles of others in collaborative efforts are important in the creation of many great books, and we do hope to support them in the future. We regret that it’s not possible today. We won’t be able to provide further insight or assistance for your request.
Maybe Amazon, whose Comics & Graphic Novel section has come a long way over the years, needs to update their policies in this area as well. The comments section at The Beat has more discussion, including comments from Larry Hama, Dean Haspiel and Torsten Adair, who works for Barnes & Noble and offers a perspective from the retail side.
O’Connor’s issues with Amazon come on the heels of this post by David Welsh, where he questions why artist Ibraim Roberson’s name was left off the preview copy of Max Brooks-written graphic novel The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks, and takes a look at other recent graphic novels to see how they handle artistic credits.
Update: Amazon has reversed its decision and is now displaying O’Connor’s artistic credits as well. It sounds like this will lead to a policy change in this area, which is good news for comic artists.