Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amazon surrenders to Macmillan and Steve Jobs

Brad Stone of the New York Times just tweeted that Amazon has "capitulated" (I'd say that was the right term) to Macmillan's terms.

I imagine a lot of stockholders may have called, concerned, no matter what the merits of the matter.
Here is Amazon's official statement to its Kindle Community.  It's best to see the FULL statement where it appears.

The main portion:
'We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles.

We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.  Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book... '

What happens between now and "ultimately" should be somewhat interesting.   I think that both Amazon and Macmillan will see a large slowdown in sales of e-books for MacMillan.

However, if they had done a compromise, or if they would do one, in which the pricing would be $15 for the FIRST month and then $9.99 after, most would be happy enough to either wait or buy.

As it is now, there will be resentment, affecting sales. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. This is such a terrible decision from Macmillan. I can say for sure, I will not be buying any e-books priced at $14.99. Since I don't and never have purchased many hardcovers they effectively just priced me out of their new releases.

  2. Lane, what you say is key.

    Though we may rant about their (to me) outrageous demands, setting SALES price as well as LIST price, in the end it's all about whether the new pricing for Macmillan is doable.

    For very many, it isn't, and it'll affect both Amazon and Macmillan. Apple? Not so much.

  3. I understand why Amazon is agreeing to accept Macmillan's terms, but I'm disappointed. Here's an excerpt from Amazon's official statement:

    "We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan."

    I'm not as optimistic as Amazon. I'm predicting that all the major publishers who will be selling e-books in Apple's iBookstore will demand the same agency model with Amazon.

    It's a sad day for e-book consumers.

  4. Kelly, great to see not only a name (or initials) but a pic! Nice one too.

    I had read that and wanted people to go see the full actual statement where it sits, so left something out.

    Like you, I'm not optimistic though I think a couple of big ones may not want to pressure Amazon for that, realizing Amazon seems to know how to sell a lot of e-books.

    But Steve Jobs will not accept that he is charging $15 while they are letting Amazon charge only $10, so it will all continue.

  5. Great story. Thanks again for the news. Sad really. I think they lose sight of what the impact might be.
    Kelly, I hope you're wrong about the other publishers. Well just have to wait and see........

  6. Igotnothing,

    Another pic ! This is great.

    I hope that "ultimately" is a long enough time for someone to figure out what to do to prevent this fiasco, well, the bigger one.

  7. I can't fault Amazon here, as they have a business to run. But, let;s be clear. DON'T BUY FICTION BOOKS OVER $9.99!!!!

    Then, they'll get the message when they don't sell.

    Rick Askenase

  8. Rick,
    Not faulting Amazon in this case :-)

    I'm glad you made the distinction re fiction because I will buy reference books for more, sometimes :-)

  9. I'm boycotting the greedy losers at Macmillan. When they start begging me to consider adopting their textbooks for my courses, as they do every semester, their representatives will get an earful about the disgusting predatory practices of their publishing house.

  10. Clarissa,
    Maybe now might be a good time to email those reps :-)

  11. Since I've had my Kindle, I've never bought a book that was more than 9.99 and I certainly don't intend to do this now. There are still libraries out. Now I bought my kindle to have less weight in my handbag and be able to adjust the font size to suit my getting old eyes. Should I pay more because I'm getting old?
    Last book I was offered that had large font was Careless in Red. The price was 27$95!!!! And it weighed over two pounds!
    Forget it

  12. Just a suggestion, I just removed Iain Pears book, Stone's Fall from my wish list, which I only use to remember books, and tagged it "outrageously expensive" and since I had to give it stars, gave it one. Unfortunately I don't have more books on my wish list that fall into this category, but I thought we might get together and act!

  13. Claude,
    I like the tag, but have not been in favor of the permanent rating of '1' which reflects on the author and the book (after all their work on it) when protesting a publisher policy.

    On the other hand, it's been effective in getting attention to the publishers' plans to delay e-books as a punishment for the e-books selling so well to Kindle buyers.

    I can't fathom the stupidity of some large publishing houses, out of touch with today's world, and will post more on that today. But all they're doing is *losing* -additional money that a now different segment of customers wants to send on release day.

    As for protest-ratings that are planned, I recommend a "3" instead of a '1' -- this will still affect a rating without giving the author a Fail mark that stays.

    If a book is too expensive, that is a consideration in a review -- but there is the normal condition that we expect to get help from other customers who have actually bought an item. Tough situation.

    By the way, love your photographs.

  14. Andrys, how does one determine who the publisher is when buying an Amazon book for my Kindle?

  15. Harvey,
    Usually you can see the publisher's name and release name as well as the book's ASIN number on the product page for the book, by scrolling down about a third of the page.
    It'll be on the left with the other book information.

    The comment pages are loading slowly today...

  16. It figures... I am expecting my 1st Kindle in the mail tomarrow and am just now hearing about price increases. "My luck" Hope this is not going to be the norm. Love the blog. I'll have to subscribe to it on the Kindle tomarrow ;)

  17. Anonymous,
    So far, the price increases would only be at Apple store and by Macmillan at Amazon, but Steve Jobs has said (video'd) that the prices at both stores will be the same, and since he asked the publishers to raise their prices (sourced at WSJ in one of the blog entries) there may be other attempts with his help, as he at the same time offers the publishers a place where they can sell at the higher price.

    Thanks much for the support!

  18. My thoughts on this are that the best way to handle it if they wont drop prices, would be to sell the hard cover book, and include the ebook download with it, that way they make their hardcover price point, and people who have ereaders and dont want to carry a large bulky hardcover book around can download the ebook to whatever reader they have.

  19. AzureSky
    That would be a nice option to have but most would normally want the ability to just buy the e-book without having to buy the hard cover book -- for all kinds of reasons (cost and trees - and some just don't want heavy books that take up room).

  20. yeah I agree, BUT if they are going to charge you for the hard cover, you may as well get the hard cover, you can always resell it or trade it in at a used bookstore, or hell, give it to a friend :)


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