Hugh Pickens writes writes "David Streitfeld reports that Amazon is aggressively wooing top authors gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide by setting up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran Laurence Kirshbaum to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. “Everyone’s afraid of Amazon,” says Richard Curtis, a longtime agent who is also an e-book publisher. “The only really necessary people in the publishing process now are the writer and reader,” adds Russell Grandinetti, one of Amazon’s top executives. “Everyone who stands between those two has both risk and opportunity.” But publishers are fighting back at writers who publish with Amazon. In 2010 Kiana Davenport signed with a division of Penguin, for “The Chinese Soldier’s Daughter,” a Civil War love story and received a $20,000 advance. In the meantime Davenport packaged several award-winning short stories she had written 20 years ago and packaged them in an e-book, “Cannibal Nights,” available on Amazon. When Penguin found out, it went “ballistic,” accusing her of breaking her contractual promise to avoid competing with it and canceled her novel suing Davenport to recover her advance. Davenport knows her crime: "Sleeping with the enemy? Perhaps. But now I know who the enemy is.""