Friday, February 5, 2010

Macmillan hard cover books return

NY Times: Macmillan Books Return After Dispute.  Brad Stone and Motoko Rich report on the end of negotations, though it's not clear what was successfully negotiated.  

They write:
' So what did Amazon hold out for?  The company would not comment, but it is likely that Amazon demanded that no other e-book vendors, such as Apple, get preferential access to new titles, or any kind of pricing advantages.
  Amazon may also have negotiated terms into its agreement with the publisher that would allow users of Kindles or Kindle software to lend e-books to each other. '
Emphases mine.  The words 'likely' and 'may' are used to mention concessions, the concepts of which wouldn't have come from thin air.  It seems the NYTimes probably got SOME kind of word but isn't free to say so outright.

Also, while hardcover books are back, the Kindle edition copies have not shown up as of mid-Friday evening.

OTHER NEWS REPORTS - Follow links for full stories
1. Why (And How) Apple Killed The $US9.99 Ebook
' Publishers joining Apple’s iBooks store are turning their back on Amazon and its vision of the flat $US9.99 ebook. Apple forced the music industry to charge 99 US cents per song, so why are they helping publishers set their own prices?

To screw Amazon. '   [From]
2. Apple iPad Helps Publishers Get Better Price from Amazon
' Gizmodo reports that the move could mean the end of the $9.99 book.  The conventional wisdom is that publishers will set the ebook prices first proposed by Apple—from $12.99 to $14.99.  I suspect that Penguin and Simon & Schuster will follow suit and that Amazon will be forced to migrate to the agency model and match Apple pricing.'   [From]
3. Epicenter The Business of Tech Panacea or Poison Pill:
    Who Gets to Decide About $10 E-Books?
' Hachette has become the third major publisher to publicly denounce’s $10 e-book model.  It joins Macmillan and HarperCollins in what seems now like the death blow to a price point that had less to do with the inherent value of the content than it did with finding a magic number readers could not resist in droves. '   [From]

It's Friday night and Len Edgerly's The Kindle Chronicles weekly podcast is up, with the final part of the 2-part interview with Forrester's James McQuivey, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.
  The first part is at Len's The Reading Edge podcast, which reports on all e-readers -- this last week's podcasts being especially germane, as mentioned in the last blog entry here. Part 1 of a 2-part interview there is titled "Amazon Brings a Knife to a Mud Fight."
  In Part 2 James McQuivey also shares his thoughts on the Apple’s new iPad's place in all this as well as what the next Kindle may shape up to be. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
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  1. Macmillan has got their backs up about Amazon selling their ebooks for $9.99 but hasn't said a thing about Barnes & Noble also selling the same e-books for $9.99 "Checklist Manifesto" is currently $9.99 at B&N but nobody says boo about it. Apparently it's NOT the economics of it with Macmillan; they're just gunning for Amazon.

  2. I posted this on Gizmodo:
    It’s amazing how you guys continually get this wrong. The iPad looks to be a beautiful device- for games, videos and newspapers/comic books. Reading a newspaper, with short content and imbedded videos, or comic books, will be great on this. NOT books. Long form reading of books (do you even know about that?) is uncomfortable on a back-lit LCD screen, especially one as large as this.

    Apple will sell many iPads. But how much book reading will actually be done on it? Very little. I’ll bet that if you poll all iPad owners in 1 year, you will find that they spend less than 10% of their time on it reading BOOKS! THAT’s why this is not a Kindle killer.

    In fact, it will be a Kindle enabler. If Apple allows the Kindle App on the iPad(as they do now with the iPhone), then Kindle owners will buy their books from Amazon, read them on their Kindle, and, ocassionally on their iPad, as a supplement.

    Apple will not kill the Kindle or Amazon. Amazon will still sell Kindles and kindle books to people WHO LIKE TO READ BOOKS!! What about that don’t you understand? Reading a book for 1-2 hours per day (which is true of most kindle owners) are NOT the buyers of iPads- at least not for the bulk of their book reading.

    You techno guys believe that the only good device is one that does 7 things well. That may be true for you, but not for book lovers. They want to read books- and they will not do it (except for a little) on the iPad.

    Just because you don’t read books, and prefer to play games on your cute devices does not mean that everfyone does. You are casting your likes over everyone- and it doesn’t work that way.

    Rick Askenase

  3. To Richard,
    I think it's because B&N is seen as coming down to Amazon's prices partially because they announced they would at the time of the Nook launch when people were saying they'd buy the Kindle because the e-books were less expensive.

    Also, Macmillan told its crew that all the other book partners had agreed to their 'Agency plan' and I imagine Amazon negotiated protection against having to use a price higher than any of the other stores...

    We'll see...

  4. Rick,
    I don't remember mentioning two Gizmodo columns I read shortly after the launch of the iPad. One, by Adam Frucci, was the most negative reaction I've read and it was much distributed -- it's at

    The other, by Joel Johnson, was about the iPad as a laptop or netbook killer, and the writer felt he'd more likely take his iPad out than his laptop, but even he didn't think it'd be an e-reader killer.

    The commenting crowd just reamed him for the idea it'd beat a laptop for him, saying they'd never seen such a split between a Gizmodo column and its commenters. You'll likely enjoy the comments. It's at

    I guess you came upon a "The Kindle is Dead" kind of thread there today? I agree with what you wrote -- that mainly people who don't read long-session sequential-text as in books will ignore or be unaware of the huge difference between reading on e-paper vs LCD screens.

    I spend hours surfing the web on normal computers with light coming at me but I turn the white down. Reading a book on it is just harder because you don't naturally break away from it to read other things and give the eyes more exercise.

    At any rate, I can read w/o strain for hours when surfing, but for books, I have to squint after awhile - and then I turn off the Kindle-for-PC app and go to the Kindle, which is a real relief for that.

    I imagine that with the proposed Macmillan Agency-type 'profits' for an e-book whenever one does sell at those prices, Amazon can put the estimated profits (though I don't think it'll be much if at all due to people resisting the prices) into lowering the price of the Kindle.

    If they can bring it down to $189-$199 (these vendors like that '9' thing) then it'll continue to do well against the bare-bones 16Gig for multimedia, non-3G iPad(where the Kindle has free, if slow, 24/7 3G) for those who just want to be able to read books or have the family and friends sharing those but who also like to use the device for quick text lookups when out on the street.

    Analysts are saying that $259 to $499 is already a leap for many whose goal is reading books on an ereader that you can take on your errands.

    Re the iPad as a laptop killer idea:
    Was on my Samsung 10" non-glare netbook most of the time yesterday and if you press the function key F11 on a PC, you get a screen that looks like the iPad one. But you get get a nice minimally 160-gig HD and a really nice, largish keyboard, not to mention multitasking and the ability to display flash.

    I looked at it and really wondered why I'd want the iPad (the Samsung NC 10-14G is beautiful). I think the iPad will be more like a really sophisticated toy, to have for just lying around -- but to have to hold a gizmo of that size to watch a video, I'm not convinced.

  5. My touchstone on the MacMillan e-books for the Kindle are the Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" series, which are being re-issued month by month. As of Saturday, all the previously issued titles are again available, through "The Shadow Rising", but are now for sale at $9.99. I paid around 7.39. The next title, "The Fires of Heaven" is not currently available, even for pre-order. I had pre-ordered it, and the ordered has been deleted from my account at Amazon; not cancelled, but like the 1984 books, just disappeared.

  6. PRW, no one's announced yet the actual end of all negotiations, and the effect on pre-orders for books due after March when the 'Agency' program proposed by Macmillan (and Apple) is put into place. There's probably no definite info in place on what is happening with those pre-orders and pricing yet...

    It could be they're 'hiding' or not displaying the info but it's still there, to be displayed once they all decide. Just conjecture on my part.

    Thanks for that information about the price changes you've tracked.

  7. Right now, my Amazon orders for the Wheel of Time titles are again available in My Account pages, and I paid $7.99 for them, which is now the current (and former) price in the Kindle Bookstore. So Amazon is gradually getting their inventory of MacMillan-related publications back to the way they were. But I wonder if anyone actually paid the $9.99 price for any of these publications ? And the next title, "The Fires of Heaven" is still not available for either pre-order or actual order. But I wouldn't blame Amazon for getting all the older titles squared away before adding newer ones.

  8. PRW,
    I did read that the e-titles were flowing in but there were no real details.

    Thanks for the real-world info. It would be surprising to see the higher pricings on books before the new agreement due by March, but I did see a report that a couple of e-books from Macmillan were priced at $14.99 already. We'll see.

  9. This morning, Feb. 10, I checked Amazon for Kindle "Wheel of Time" titles, and I can only report further confusion. The recently released Tor Kindle titles are still available at the $7.99, with the exception of the first title, "The Eye of the World". It is not offered in the US ! But if I just search "Books", I can see entries for titles "Not Available" for US customers, that include some titles not yet released; can't see prices of course. These are published by "Hachette Littlehampton", so MacMillan only has US rights.

  10. PRW,
    But I didn't understand this, between Hachette and Macmillan and what's not or is available in the U.S...


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