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I don't know if anyone here has been following the latest publishing hoo-raw, but here it is: Amazon, dealers in the mighty Kindle (which makes you re-buy books you already bought if your Kindle dies and you buy another Kindle), wants to set the e-book price for the publishing industry. Macmillan Publishers disagreed, so what does Amazon do? This.

Yep. Because they're mad at Macmillan's deal-makers, they pulled not only Macmillan's electronic books off Amazon, but the paper ones, too! This, even though they admit they'll have to give way to Macmillan's demands eventually!

You know, when I was a kid, this is the kind of behavior that got me smacked and sent to bed early.

Way to go, guys: punish the authors, who have nothing whatsoever to do with the Amazon/Macmillan deal-making process! Don't tell me you actually think Macmillan actually listens to its authors?!

Are these people doing business, or playing street stickball?

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( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
thetathx1138
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC)
Don't worry. Eventually Amazon will realize the only real market for the Kindle is professional texts and students. Then we just have to hear about slapfights between them, Barnes and Noble, Apple, and textbook divisions.
radiotrash
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
*looks at Kindle purchases* Nope no professional texts here, just fantasy and sci-fi books.
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lithera
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:03 pm (UTC)
I have a Kindle and it died and I haven't had to rebuy a thing - it was all waiting for me in my archived purchases. I just had to redownload them.
coraa
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC)
This. I'm not saying Amazon is behaving in a totally stand-up fashion in this, but they don't make you rebuy if your device stops working, and they do let you share your purchases between multiple devices.
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kallaneboi
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
Amazon is reminding me more and more of a spoiled child. If I was going to buy an e-book reader, which I have no plans on at this point in time, I'd go with Barnes and Noble's nook simply because they haven't thrown a temper tantrum about things like this.
archangelbeth
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:25 pm (UTC)
I dunno -- I think they're trying to pull an Apple iTunes. (Apple sez: "You want to put songs on? They're 99 cents. Take it or leave it." And if music industry companies leave it, Apple goes "shrug" and "they'll be back. Or not. whatever.")

Except, stupidly, Amazon included print media in their "oh, you don' wanna play ball wif us? FINE" play, and shot itself in the foot. If they'd said "Sign our contract which sez Price Is X, or No eBooks 4 U," and Macmillan hadn't signed, then no MacMillan ebooks. So sad, whatever, that's business.

But nooooo, they try to blackmail Macmillan by pulling print books! When Amazon is supposed to be in the business of selling books! I think this will lose them money from customers; if they have a Barnes & Noble in the area, they can drive down and buy the books they want. Barnes & Noble will hopefully capitalize on this.

...and your icon. I loves it.
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prydera
Feb. 1st, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
I notice they don't have a problem selling Macmillan books through Amazon marketplace (which I've always assumed Amazon gets some sort of cut from).

I just called this a "hissy fit" to my boss and I think that's really what it is, but Amazon has made me nervous for a while and I avoid buying from them when possible (I'd love to buy all my books from independents, but I barely buy books anymore right now anyway).
tammy212
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:05 pm (UTC)
"Hissy fit" is pretty accurate. "Tantrum" is also good. Really, this is so immature I'm embarrassed to see it.
rjnano
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:00 pm (UTC)
I have to side with Amazon on this one. Publishers want to withhold their books for month after the hardcover release AND increase their prices? I don't think so. I'm not waiting months after a hardcover release to get an ebook then have to pay $15 for it. IMO, ebooks aren't worth $15. You don't get a physical book to hold in your hands, you don't get the nicely designed covers, you can't easily lend it to a friend and you can't resell it or give it away once you get tired of it.
radiotrash
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
I agree. While I find hardcovers nice I hate buying them because they're uncomfortable to read and I don't want to have to wait a year to read a book I want to read now just because I'd prefer it in an easier to handle format. E-book readers provide a nice alternative for me.
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houseboatonstyx
Feb. 1st, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
No, Macmillan wants to release their ebooks simultaneous with the paper editions. They want to start each new ebook price high and bring it down to like $6 as time goes on.

Personally I think Amazon's $9.99 is too high already, and all the prices will come down eventually.
radiotrash
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I think Amazon is in a huff cause Apple wants to charge $15 flat for all e-books, from what I heard, and Amazon doesn't want to mark their books up that high.

I agree in that sense because I sure as hell don't wanna pay $15 for a book I can get for 7.99 or what have you in dead tree format.

I don't think Amazon should have played it the way they did though even if they didn't want to raise the ebook prices to $15. (But really they should've let them, who is going to buy $15 ebooks? I think Macmillan would have learned that soon enough.)

The one thing I hate about the e-book industry is that there's no standard format. Each reader has it's own and now Apple is coming to the game and bringing their own toys with them. Hrrg.
beccastareyes
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:14 pm (UTC)
I agree in that sense because I sure as hell don't wanna pay $15 for a book I can get for 7.99 or what have you in dead tree format.

From what I understand, MacMillan was more wanting to do dynamic pricing, which meant that $15 would be at first release, then the price drops as things like paperback editions come out. Because I think they realize that most folks won't buy an ebook if it's more expensive than the cheapest (new) dead-tree edition -- the market for $15 ebooks are the same as the crowd who will pay for $25 hardcovers rather than waiting for $8 paperbacks.

Problem is, they can't make enough selling $10 ebooks to pay for the initial investment of bringing a book to market -- since ebooks have all the editing/layout/art design/author advance/marketing that paper books have and only save on printing, you can't cut their cost as much as people might want. (I don't know if the $15-then-drop-the-price would pay its share, but it's worth a shot.)

Or so I've gathered since everyone and John Scalzi's cat seem to be blogging about this. I don't know if I'd pay $15 for an ebook* either, but I'd rather Amazon stop throwing a snitfit.

* Okay, I have for RPG manuals, but usually in cases where $15 is half off the cover price, and there was little chance of a new copy being available cheaper in a year.
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archangelbeth
Feb. 1st, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
Edited to fix HTML
Pray forgive me -- you gave me an excuse to do research, and now I am indulging in the bad habit of infodumping. Er. Skip now if you don't want an infodump. O:>

Hm. Apple's not charging $15 necessarily, according to this article -- if the article is correct, then they seem to be open to a $9.99 standard. (Unless the publisher is willing to go lower.) Though they are courting publishers with the potential for higher prices, over at this article... so it's kind of up in the air. I, for one, am unlikely to buy at $15. (Or at $10, frankly. As I've said a few other places, any ebook store is competing with Project Gutenberg for my eyeballs, and unless reading on an iPad is an orgasmic experience, I can't see that I'm going to want to buy anything much higher than about $4. Or $5 if I really like the author. Unless a lot of the price is going directly to the author, of course. ($20 for a book where I know $10 is going to the author? I might spring for that now and then!))

I'm looking at Jobs' speech (here), and ebooks (iBooks app) start around 00:51:30 -- hm, no price yet, but they've got Macmillan on board already for their iBookstore...

Wouldn't Apple settle on an existing standard, such as epub? From the font stuff in the speech, on Apple's site, doesn't look like they're doing PDF. AH! Yes, they're using ePub format (he says so a little before 00:56:25). I do not know if ePub is universal, but it's at least fairly common and Stanza on the iPhone can read it. So ePub may be settling out as a standard format, at least? (Kindle doesn't read it natively, but there at least are conversion programs like Calibre out there.)

Edited at 2010-02-01 10:02 pm (UTC)
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19_99
Feb. 1st, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
That's because Macmillan had a monopoly on their own books or something. Duh. Monopolies are so evil, right Amazon?
kitmf
Feb. 1st, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
I have a nook and I've paid 15 bucks for some books for it. (Well, 14.99) These were books that cost more like forty bucks in paper. I bought it mostly for travel, but I'm having no trouble reading on it. Accordingly my ebook purchases are not going to be from Amazon in the foreseeable future.

I certainly feel that Amazon is "pulling a Walmart" here, and needs to be stood up to.
phdelicious
Feb. 2nd, 2010 12:29 am (UTC)
An e-Reader seems like a nice toy, but the only time I'd really use it would be traveling and I don't do that much so it hasn't been worth it to me yet.

Regardless I can't understand paying more than $10 for an e-book. I'm not really backing either side in this fight because Amazon is really being childish, but I'm not a fan of MacMillan's proposal either really.
19_99
Feb. 2nd, 2010 10:16 am (UTC)
Even though Macmillan's proposal means more money from the customer, it's not a new idea and from what I've been reading it's better for the authors, and Amazon is just being crappy to the authors.

From my PoV, the authors are the ones that should matter the most in these decisions. This is their livelihood and we can already read their stuff for free through libraries.
lilithschilde
Feb. 2nd, 2010 04:36 am (UTC)
I'm so disappointed in Amazon. I've been following this because a good friend of mine is an author for Henry Holt which is through Macmillan. Her first book has obviously been pulled, and her second book which is due out in April is no longer available for preorder.

Just because Amazon is the big man on campus doesn't mean they can bully people around. If they don't come to a decent agreement soon I'll just order through my independent bookstore instead. Heck, maybe I'll do it anyway.
snowydragon1776
Feb. 2nd, 2010 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yet another pathetic move by Amazon.

And yet another reason why i don't want an e-reader. I will go to the library or used book store thanks.
learn_decide
Feb. 7th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
Broken Kindle
I agree with much that you wrote regarding the Amazon/McMillan debate, but disagree with the information you give on the Kindle. If the Kindle breaks and you purchase a new Kindle, you can download your library from your Amazon account onto your new Kindle.
learn_decide
Feb. 7th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
Re: Broken Kindle
I also need to say that while I need to learn more about this issue, I find it hard to see why I should pay the same price for a book that uses no paper or binding (thus less cost) as I would for the hardback at say Costco or some other wholesale store. I'm all for authors making a good profit off the book they write. They should get the same percentage as always. it's the printers and book binders that lose out on the deal. Personally, I love my Kindle as I can now own hundreds of books and still have room to live in my house.
gknowles
Feb. 7th, 2010 04:53 am (UTC)
If your paper books get lost, burned, destroyed, stolen, dropped in a river etc. you need to re-buy them. If your Kindle gets lost, burned, destroyed, stolen, dropped in a rive etc. and you need to get a new one, you don't re-buy the books, you simply go to your archives and download them again....at no cost.



( 56 comments — Leave a comment )

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