31 January 2010

So unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Apple introduced the iPad. In doing so, Steve Jobs informed us that they'd have a new digital book store. Apparently the demo had books at $14.99. When asked why someone would buy their books for $14.99 when most at Amazon are $9.99 Steve Jobs replied that they'd be the same and that publishers are withholding books from Amazon. Somehow some took this to mean that all books would be $10. Not me. I took it to mean that Apple's contract meant that they'd be forcing everyone to raise prices. I was right. This weekend Amazon and Macmillan got into a pissing contest over prices.

Apparently it's "well known" if you believe the internet that Amazon often takes losses on some books -- paying the publishers what they demand and then selling them cheaper than competitors, even if it means a loss to them. Macmillan decided that retailers shouldn't decide how much they sell a product for. Instead they should be an "agent" for the publishers. Their letter is here. So they are saying look Amazon makes more, we don't. We just want the consumer to pay more. Good job in admitting they just want to screw the consumers.

Me? I didn't have a Kindle last year but do now. So I looked at my average Amazon purchases for last year -- about $65-70 a pop. 4-5 books - a combination of hardcover and paperback, newer and a few years old both. Then usually a season of a tv show or two movies. At the new Macmillan pricing I'd be lucky to get 5 books, no dvds. So I'll speak with my orders, and not order their books. I shouldn't be getting less for my dollar than if I'm buying paper books with printing, storage, shipping, etc. Lucky for me so far the books I do want, including bigger authors don't seem to be with this company. And I discovered an indie author during this mess.

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