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This is interesting.  The web booksite Amazon.com has pulled all Macmillan books from its site because of a disagreement over pricing of e-books.  Macmillan had been pressuring Amazon to raise the price of e-books sold to the public thru Amazon's Kindle to $15 a piece. This has many writers of science fiction concerned, because Tor, owned by Macmillan Publishing, publishes a lot of science fiction writers.  This is why both Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi, science fiction writers, have commented on this.  Wouldn't you?

(Now, it should be noted that when I say Amazon has pulled Macmillan books, the big caveat is that they have stopped selling Macmillan books, but you can still buy Macmillan books from other sellers listed on Amazon.  Go look at the link to Cory Doctorow's post.  He has a screen shot showing this.)
All of this stems from Macmillan's new deal with Apple & its' iBook store.  Macmillan asked Amazon to agree to a similar new deal, & told them that if they stuck with the older deal, e-books would be released to them after a seven month delay.  Pulling Macmillan's books was Amazons response.
My reaction to this is varied.  I am entertained by the spectacle of two lights in the book industry brawling like drunken sailors, but I'm also thinks this shows free enterprise sucks.
I am also amused anyone would think of buying an iPod/Kindle/iPad etc for reading material. You don't have to worry that much about spilling/dropping a book in water (you can dry it out.)  No batteries, either.  I have no need or desire for anything replacing a book.
But then, that's just me.

Originally posted to Friendlystranger on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 08:28 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Macmillan will lose this fight (7+ / 0-)

    $15 for e-books is too expensive

    I love real books but e-books are here to stay. In part because of the pricing.

    Governing well shall be the best revenge

    by Bill White on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 08:43:17 PM PST

    •  On the other hand, Amazon will lose (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      watercarrier4diogenes

      its more favorable split of the e-book revenues and will need to move towards Apple's more generous terms once Kindle starts losing market share.

      Kindle pays authors / publishers 35%

      Scribd and Smashwords pays authors / publishers 80%

      Governing well shall be the best revenge

      by Bill White on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 08:46:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  IPad isn't proven and apparently there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bill White, Jim P

        are issues with reading books on the ipad(glare).  I would not be burning any bridges with Amazon...I think they are now the largest seller of books of any type.

        "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

        by lakehillsliberal on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 09:12:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amazon will remain #1, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HylasBrook

          IMHO, they will increase the percentage to be paid authors on Kindle sales in order to stay #1

          Governing well shall be the best revenge

          by Bill White on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 09:41:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apparently so...they have capitulated to (0+ / 0-)

            Macmillian...I personally will not be paying 15.00 for a Kindle download so I will skip these books.  I have get the actual book for 5.00 more and I know that it costs more to print and distribute books than 5.00.  They want to gouge the kindle users and they only way to justify the expensive device is the more reasonable cost of the downloads.

            "When fascism comes to America, it'll be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis

            by lakehillsliberal on Mon Feb 01, 2010 at 12:11:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Uh, no? (0+ / 0-)

        35%? What are you smoking?

        http://www.websitemagazine.com/...

        Granted, that's a new offer, but the previous royalties were NOT as low as 35%.

        Incidentally, authors generally make about 8-15% royalties on physical books. eBooks would be a much better deal for authors if they sold as well.

        Proud supporter of nuclear power!

        by zegota on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 09:56:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, now I'm confused (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bill White

          That article (among others) seems to say that they used to pay 35% to the AUTHORS ... which would be about the same money you'd get from a hard copy. If it's 35% to the publishers, you're right, that is poor. 50% is much better, and the now introduced 75% option is great.

          Proud supporter of nuclear power!

          by zegota on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 10:00:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep, you've got it right (0+ / 0-)

            From the above link:

            One of the reasons that we've hesitated to make Website Magazine available for Kindle is the totally unfair revenue share Amazon was offering. For you Kindle readers, expect Website Magazine very soon.

            Governing well shall be the best revenge

            by Bill White on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:03:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Your link proves my point . . . (0+ / 0-)

          Amazon announced this week the details of a new program that will enable authors and publishers using the Kindle Digital Text Platform (DTP) to earn a 70% royalty option, less delivery costs. The program will become available on June 30, 2010.

          Also from your link:

          One of the reasons that we've hesitated to make Website Magazine available for Kindle is the totally unfair revenue share Amazon was offering. For you Kindle readers, expect Website Magazine very soon.

          This can only be in response to competition.

          Governing well shall be the best revenge

          by Bill White on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:02:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a dedicated Kindle reader. I find the Kindle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb

    reading experience to be so much more satisfying than reading a book (and we used to have a library of over 10,000 physical books) that if a book isn't on Kindle, I simply don't read it at all unless it is absolutely necessary for something work related.  Plenty of people switch back and forth between books and ebooks but there is a growing group of people who, like me, only read on an e-reader.   So Macmillan: I wouldn't count on people buying your physical books for 24.95 or whatever because they aren't available in e-book form.  We'll just go without, that's the bottom line.  Glad I'm not a shareholder in Macmillan.

  •  So wrong (0+ / 0-)

    I don't like Amazon's way of fighting by pulling all Macmillan books.

    HOWEVER, I agree Macmillan is wrong about the pricing. They are focusing on meeting their production costs for ebooks without looking at the consequences of not being able to sell any at all.

    I worked for an author who agreed to partake in a publisher's ebook experiment. The book was overpriced (I think over $15), and as a consequence it sold few copies. Since the author received no advance, the time and work he put into that book was a complete loss.

    Publisher's aren't looking at the value proposition of virtual items. Customers get the opportunity to read the book repeatedly on their Kindle, but the "shelf-life" is limited to that technology. Traditional books are tangible, and give the buyer the pleasure of possessing an item that lives visibly in their book case.

    IMHO, the ebook industry will be more effective if the price goes down and publishers focus on increasing the scale of sales.

    •  Ps. On Kindle (0+ / 0-)

      I find Amazon's constant pushing of the Kindle to be obnoxious, and disruptive on their web site. It must have been successfully in overwhelming mindshare, though, since Kindle is offering publishers/authors the lesser cut. >.>

    •  Plus (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jct, breakingranks

      you can lend your book, and you can resell it.

      It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

      by denise b on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 01:22:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's not the issue (0+ / 0-)

        The issue is the tangibility and physical accretion of the book format. Lending and selling in the ebook context are just services. Ebooks have many virtues, including being a lot easier to cope with if you have to move to a new house.

        However, ebooks are no replacement for physical books. Gathering physical books is part of an identity-formation process. Western culture is a Culture of the Book - not just in the Biblical sense, but the Print Revolution sense. Ebooks might threaten that culture by making physical books less economically viable, but ebooks will never replace the physical book's role as part of the soul of civilization.

  •  I have held back on buying an e-book (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tovan

    reader until the market shakes out and we know what format will dominate.  I am also interested in buying an e-book reader where I can buy the books from multiple sources.  Only being able to buy from Amazon with the Kindle has been a huge problem for me.

    •  I read on my small laptop, and can download (0+ / 0-)

      from any source that carries any of the three free ereaders I've also downloaded.  I like the larger, brighter screen, format flexibility, and book source choices.

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." Will Rogers

      by tovan on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 02:42:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kindle can now handle... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jct

      ...multiple file types -- the "official" Kindle format, pdf, text, even some word processor formats.

      Additionally, there are companies selling e-books directly, without having to go through Amazon, such as Baen, in multiple formats.

      That said, I don't like reading the Kindle as much as an actual book.  Maybe I'll get used to it over time -- I dunno.

    •  Kindle for PC is free (0+ / 0-)

      I've downloaded that software and bought a few low priced books.

      Governing well shall be the best revenge

      by Bill White on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:05:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  With 30+ years in publishing (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raboof, tovan, jct, myrealname

    I can testify that it is federal law that publishers must first have their heart removed, and then their brain. They must also pay for the removal, but they have to do it from withheld payments due their authors.

    Fact.

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Sat Jan 30, 2010 at 11:50:56 PM PST

  •  I bought an early e-book device (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tovan, jct, myrealname

    in the 1990s sometime. I read some public domain stuff on it, but I never ended up buying any books, because they were asking just about the same price for the e-book as the physical one.

    No material costs, no printing costs, no shipping, no stocking, no retail store, no inventorying, no remainders. How on earth can they justify the prices?

    It is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man. --H.L. Mencken

    by denise b on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 01:20:43 AM PST

    •  I don't think they can justify e-book prices. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      denise b, jct

      And they haven't tried.  I looked up publishing costs not too long ago.  Far more than half the price of hard books comes from dealing with a physical product. The costs for each ebook must be far, far less in comparison, once the website is set up.  

      I found it telling that no average cost-per-book stats have been published (that I could find) for ebooks.  It provoke a rebellion among readers.  

      Once a book is in digital form (and I believe the authors or publishers provide that), in two or three formats, that's it.  Ebook websites can download that same file an infinite number of times for pennies plus royalties.  The incremental profits for popular ebooks must be staggering.

      "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat." Will Rogers

      by tovan on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 02:30:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Orson Scott Card on Kindle royalties (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.ereads.com/...

    "I don't begrudge them their share," he says. "I begrudge them the obscene percentage they keep and the laughable share they give to the author."

    Governing well shall be the best revenge

    by Bill White on Sun Jan 31, 2010 at 08:10:45 AM PST

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