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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Muscular Macmillan Wrestles Amazon on eBook Pricing

I've let this story percolate for a while until it took a direction: the publishers' fight with Amazon over eBook pricing. Amazon has been selling eBooks of newly released books for $9.99, which some publishers consider predatory and which undermines their print book sales.

This story has been covered extensively, which is not surprising. SFWA now has a nice article summarizing this issue following Macmillan's muscular move to control its products' pricing on Amazon. Macmillan changed its terms of sale from the wholesale model, in which resellers buy at a discount and sale at any price they wish, to an agency model, in which the reseller takes a commission from the sales. Under the latter arrangement, Amazon would have to sell new Macmillan titles in eBook form at prices starting at just under $13 USD. Amazon responded by yanking the "Buy" button from Macmillan books, but later recanted. It did not go unnoticed that this decision was made in the shadow of Apple's acceptance of the agency model for its new Apple iPad.

Here is SFWA's article on Macmillan vs. Amazon by Victoria Strauss.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple iPad

iPad: finally, it's over. Apple has its new gadget. It's not a $120o Mac OSX tablet as many thought until recently (though one may still be in the works). It's basically a $500 tablet-sized iPod Touch, great for viewing books, photos and movies and web browsing. Some are touting it as a Kindle killer. Maybe. The Kindle will work well in bright light because it is an e-Ink device. On the other hand, e-Ink doesn't do well in the dark. Dan Costa at PC Magazine thinks Amazon won't mind being killed in the device market by Apple. Amazon has the Kindle so they can sell their eBooks. If people buy them for an iPad, that's just fine with Amazon.

One of the more amusing stumbles associated with the iPad was made when Harold McGraw of McGraw-Hill "prattled like teenage girl" when he upstaged Steve Jobs with an early announcement about the iPad. Before that faux pas, there were six publishers that were to be part of the later announcement and presentations. Now one missing.

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