Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sellers vs. Publishers; the Amazon - Macmillan War

Amazon's Grip on E-book Pricing Slackens, But the War's Not Over

Bnet — The e-book pricing war between Macmillan and Amazon (AMZN) is still raging but Amazon’s lost two more battles, further loosening the online retailer’s choke hold on the $9.99 price point for digital books.

Publishing heavyweight Rupert Murdoch voiced his displeasure during a News Corp. (NWS) earnings call on Tuesday.
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Has Amazon Moved Your Buy Button?

New York Times — You may have read about the standoff between and the Macmillan publishing company. Macmillan had objected to Amazon’s pricing, particularly its loss-leader $9.99 e-book price for new books. In turn, temporarily halted the sale of all Macmillan books. This meant Amazon customers could only buy such books from third-party vendors; the regular Amazon “buy” button had been moved.

A few days later, Amazon began to sell Macmillan’s books again. But the Authors Guild wants to protect its members against such future actions. Here is the notice the Guild recently distributed; it plainly views Amazon as something less than a trusted partner:
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FAQ: Amazon vs. Macmillan -- The IPad Wins

PC World — When Apple Inc. introduced the iPad last week, it launched a lot more than a tablet device. The announcement included the Apple iBook store, which in subsequent days provoked an e-book pricing firestorm , leading to temporarily halt sales of Macmillan e-books and paper books over the weekend.

Reactions to Amazon's pulling the plug on Macmillan, and Amazon's subsequent capitulation, took off in all directions. Macmillan authors, notably science fiction writer John Scalzi, were outraged by Amazon's action. Meanwhile, some e-book buyers blasted Macmillan, vowing they won't pay more than $9.99 for a first-release e-book, and will take a pass on e-books that cost as much as $14.95, the price Macmillan is proposing.
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