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[UPDATED] Amazon vs. Macmillan: A Battle Over eBook Prices

The Interwebs are ablaze with a disagreement between book publisher Macmillan and bookseller Amazon about the price of eBooks.

In short: Macmillan (who doesn’t want to undermine their print book business) allegedly wants Amazon to raise their Macmillan eBook prices from $10 to $15. In retaliation, Amazon (who wishes to promote their Kindle reading device, even if it means selling eBooks at a loss) stopped selling Macmillan titles altogether (except through 3rd parties).

[1/30/10 UPDATE: Amazon Concedes to Macmillan on E-Book pricing]

[2/4/10 UPDATE: Or did they?]

[2/4/10 UPDATE: New Message from Macmillan CEO John Sargent]

Interesting links abound:

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

5 Comments on [UPDATED] Amazon vs. Macmillan: A Battle Over eBook Prices

  1. Since some of my favorite authors are currently being affected by it by having their books unavailable for direct purchase from Amazon, I’m glad to see that those same authors are speaking out about how ridiculous this all is.

  2. This is just the beginging….. I see there being alsorts of ‘fun and games’ as more books become ebooks and the format wars start between the various ebook retailers and platforms.

  3. Certainly the irony can’t be lost of people that Apple, the company that strong-armed music companies into accepting a very low price for DRM-laden songs is now suggesting that Amazon is strong-arming publishers into accepting a very low price for eBooks overly restricted by DRM?  Or that Apple’s solution has the same, if not more, restrictions on everything except the price?

    I recommend consumers ignore the hardball negotiating tactics and pay attention to what deals get struck.  Then vote with your wallets.  If you don’t like what Amazon has become or what business model they have setup, then don’t buy anything from them.  Additionally, you think Apple has created a system designed purely to grab as much cash as possible from consumers, then please don’t buy from them either. You don’t have to come on the intarwebs and spew rhetoric about who has the morale high ground or who is doing the best by authors.  Nobody cares about that – corporations aren’t out to do the best by anybody except their shareholders.  Simply select the business that you want to do business with and send a message that way.  This is the only way that works.

  4. Buckell’s post is a must-read, but it looks like the extra traffic borked his site.  SFWA is hosting his article, and you can check it out here. 

  5. Good for Amazon.

    Publishers don’t like the e-book business model because it makes it harder to lie about their profit margin. When there’s eighteen steps between the author and the reader there’s lots of room for the publishers to wet their beaks. But with e-books the process is so simplified, cheap, and transparent (author –> editor –> digital file –> reader) the publisher has to make do with a smaller (i.e. more realistic) piece of the action. 




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