Amazon.com removes Macmillan books from site!!

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Medievalist

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Bezos has said more than once that he picked books to sell because they're easy to ship and warehouse.
 

thothguard51

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I suspect with ebooks its even easier. Servers take up much less room than a warehouse full of books not going no where.
 

HapiSofi

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Don't forget that Amazon would **make more money per book** with the agency model.
True; but the agency model doesn't give them an effective monopoly, which I suspect is their aim.

I've been wondering sort of idly (since Hapi mentioned a sneaking suspicion that Amazon isn't run by book people, and they may in fact be a bunch of feral nutbars) how much of this kerfluffle is due to a persistent and fundamental misunderstanding on Amazon's part.

That is, I'm suspecting that they think books are interchangeable -- sort of like bags of peanuts, or types of apples. Publishers, in that model, really resemble brand names or heirloom types....but there are perfectly good small growers of peanuts (or apples) and if they can just train their consumers to stop being such brand snobs, then those consumers will learn to be just as happy with CreateSpace offerings.

I would have thought that the abortive Amazon Shorts program would have cured them of that notion, though.
They did say the other day, in reference to publishers windowing their ebooks, that if people can't get the ebooks they want when they want them, they'll just read something else.

This is nonsensical. Yeah, some books don't have high reader investment. But if there's a book you really want, you're not going to stop wanting it. You'll read it when you can get it.
 

HapiSofi

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It does occur to me that being willing to list anything could encourage a cynical attitude toward books.
 

MacAllister

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It does occur to me that being willing to list anything could encourage a cynical attitude toward books.
Yep.
And making significant investments of thought, energy, and server-space into projects like Amazon Shorts and Createspace might well encourage even more cynicism.

And an inclination that spreads like a virus, to start believing your own marketing.

This is, of course, complete speculation without any shred of evidence. My brain just keeps trying to make sense of a series of decisions that are otherwise completely opaque to me.
 
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Medievalist

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Amazon's Kindle system is mostly a text dump. It's heartbreaking to see what they did with some of the hand-made ebooks I produced that had links, animations, and audio. The reference books with thousands of links and carefully created links have been completely ruined.
 

WendyNYC

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Amazon's Kindle system is mostly a text dump. It's heartbreaking to see what they did with some of the hand-made ebooks I produced that had links, animations, and audio. The reference books with thousands of links and carefully created links have been completely ruined.

I'm not at all surprised. My Kindle books are full of glitches. One book has a space after every word that begins with "fi," so I get "fi lled" and "fi ne" and "fi gs" throughout the whole book. Another has an extra period after each end quotation mark. Like this: "This formatting sucks.".

Very distracting and frustrating! I can't imagine what it looks like when you do anything fancy.
 

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I just want to say thanks to everyone for a very informative & well discussed thread, however can someone please explain to me what an 'Agency model' is?

I have had to look 'out there' but counldn't find anything useful! Links are fine if you don't fancy scribbling out a full explaination.
 

dragonjax

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Agency model versus window model

I just want to say thanks to everyone for a very informative & well discussed thread, however can someone please explain to me what an 'Agency model' is?

I have had to look 'out there' but counldn't find anything useful! Links are fine if you don't fancy scribbling out a full explaination.

Here's how Macmillan CEO John Sargent describes it:

Under the agency model, we will sell the digital editions of our books to consumers through our retailers. Our retailers will act as our agents and will take a 30% commission (the standard split today for many digital media businesses). The price will be set the price for each book individually. Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99. At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99. E books will almost always appear day on date with the physical edition. Pricing will be dynamic over time.

In the agency model, instead of most e-books getting capped at $9.99, the price would have a range over time, from a high of $14.99 to a low of $5.99. When the new content is first available, it will cost more — same as in pretty much any retail store for a new product. E-books would also be released around the same day as their hardcover print counterparts, instead of waiting days, weeks, months after the hardcover releases before releasing the e-book version.

The other option that's been tossed around is "windowing," in which the e-book versions, priced significantly cheaper than their print versions, would not be available until weeks, maybe even months, after the print versions have hit the shelves. (If I'm understanding that option clearly, which I believe I am.) Think of how a hardcover comes out first, and then you have to wait months (maybe even years) for an alternate format. So it would be the same thing for the e-book versions. In the windowing model, e-books are the mass-market paperbacks of the digital age.
 

Oshodisa

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Thanks Dragonjax,

I had read the info but I guess I was just expecting there to be more too it!!
 

Bubastes

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Blog post from an author who doesn't understand why authors are supporting Macmillian's actions in this brouhaha. Your thoughts?

So Macmillan earns the dubious distinction of being the first major publisher to make calculated moves to drive ebook prices higher across all platforms. Thanks to Macmillan's "victory" over Amazon, Macmillan, authors and Amazon all stand to lose sales. Macmillan stands to lose market share. Authors stand to lose readership.

ETA: never mind. I considered the source. Move along, nothing to see here.
 
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Oshodisa

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Dragonjax,

Thanks for the link, some useful content that I have not seen via other links and a well written piece. I think its all comming together now (in my mind at least!!)
 

Slushie

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Blog post from an author who doesn't understand why authors are supporting Macmillian's actions in this brouhaha. Your thoughts?

From the linky (my bolding):
Also, recall that Macmillan may be planning to offer Kindle titles in a range from $4.99-$14.99. This isn't good news for their authors either, since Kindle books priced higher than $9.99 will be a tough sell and those priced below $9.99 will net the author a lower royalty. None of Macmillan's intended changes in its Kindle books deal with Amazon stand to benefit Macmillan authors or ebook readers. The intended changes only stand either scare off sales (in the case of Kindle books priced higher than $9.99 or those delayed by 7 months) or reduce author royalties (on Kindle books priced lower than $9.99).

I'm thinking this arbitrary $10 price point has skewed consumer expectations. Maybe a majority of consumers believe a hardcover is $25 because it's, well, a hardcover; it has smooth paper, fancy-pantsy font, and a dust-jacket. And those same consumers might think a paperback is less expensive than a hardcover because it's much cheaper to make than a hardcover.

But as has been pointed out, the production costs of a hardcover are not that much more than a paperback. And, paperbacks are not that much more costly to manufacture than an ebook. The weight of production costs lie elsewhere.

The problem is, I don't think a majority of consumers understand this. It's like $10 is this magical number. "Hey, an itunes album is ten bucks, why not an ebook?" But people are still willing to drop $25 for a hardcover. As has been beaten into a bloody pulp in this thread, it's the content you're paying for, not the medium. But it seems the medium does have an influence in the price point, from the consumer perspective. I think there's this prevailing notion that if it's electronic and on the Innerwebs, then it must be cheaper.

So, the bolded part of the quote does have some basic logic to it--I think--but it's based on speculation. I didn't see any links or citations that show ebooks will sell less if priced above The Magical Number. I disagree with her assumption that a $15 ebook would be a harder sell; my argument is also based on speculation.

We'll have a better idea a year from now.

Note: I think she went a little easy on Amazon, and has more beef with Macmillan. Wrong side of the fence, if you ask me.
 

ChristineR

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Well, since the $10 model is a loss for Amazon, I assume that they are planning on raising the book's prices as soon as they get a monopoly and have every e-book reader paying them licenses. Then the prices will go back up to roughly what they are now in paper.

What I wonder is whether people will care about e-books then. Maybe people will just look at e-books and say "They're only $2 less than paper books and the reader costs $200+, so I'd have to buy a hundred books before they became cost effective. So I'd rather have the paper books which I can write in, etc."
 

James D. Macdonald

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I'm not at all surprised. My Kindle books are full of glitches. One book has a space after every word that begins with "fi," so I get "fi lled" and "fi ne" and "fi gs" throughout the whole book. Another has an extra period after each end quotation mark. Like this: "This formatting sucks.".

As reported elsewhere
: In the Kindle version of Julian Comstock, every italicized word is placed on a line by itself.

Perhaps Macmillan should be glad that Amazon pulled it.
 

zanzjan

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Bezos has said more than once that he picked books to sell because they're easy to ship and warehouse.

So here's a question (or two) that might be very stupid: it's my understanding that companies have to pay taxes on inventory, so I'm wondering if an additional motive behind this push for the ebook market could be to reduce what must be a substantial tax burden on the part of Amazon? Which also begs the question: does Amazon actually warehouse their own stock, or do they also shift that burden, either in whole or in part, off on individual producers with whom they have some sort of distribution agreement?
 

HapiSofi

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Medievalist, remember that icon you installed for me?
 

HapiSofi

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Medievalist

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So here's a question (or two) that might be very stupid: it's my understanding that companies have to pay taxes on inventory, so I'm wondering if an additional motive behind this push for the ebook market could be to reduce what must be a substantial tax burden on the part of Amazon? Which also begs the question: does Amazon actually warehouse their own stock, or do they also shift that burden, either in whole or in part, off on individual producers with whom they have some sort of distribution agreement?

Amazon has warehouses in several states as well as internationally, and functions in many ways as a wholesaler, rather than a retailer. But the tax on inventory isn't likely to be an issue for them since so many of their systems are automated. Keep in mind for a business IRS taxes are quarterly not every April.

This really is ultimately about Amazon having a piece of hardware that is not terribly unique, that they have very very few patents on, and that they want to be selling the razor blades not the razor. They want to sell ebooks, and in fact, want to be THE ONLY seller of ebooks.

I note that the Kindle contracts I've seen, for my books and those of colleagues, are demanding exclusivity for any format, and that they do not have a time limit on the erights or the exclusivity.
 

thothguard51

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No telling how many sales have lost for authors because of Amazon's foolishness...

I told an employee today at my local B&N to expect to see more of me. Well more than normal. She laughed and said, "giving up on Amazon?" She said the store has actually seen an increase this week and they figure its Amazon shoppers who can buy the books they want. I wasn't really looking for a particular book, but I wanted to make a statement with my wallet. And because we are in for a very bad snow storm here in the DC area, I left with two, both hardbacks. One was a Tor book, so take that Amazon.
 

dragonjax

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Hold the phone. Amazon has returned the buy buttons...on the print editions. Not on the Kindle editions.

Round 2!
 

LeslieB

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I was pondering the discussion about the costs of producing a book. The few ebooks I've bought are works that aren't available any other way. For those of you who buy a lot of ebooks, I'm curious - do you buy many that you don't also buy a print copy of, assuming it exists?

The reason I ask is because in reading that an ebook has all the same editing, etc. expenses that a print book has, my inner Luddite pops up thinking that the ebook just piggybacks onto the print book's sales. That's because when I contemplate buying a reader, it's to carry around disposable secondary copies of print books I already have. The idea of buying an ebook and only an ebook when there is a print version available is pretty foreign to me. Am I just really out of step with how most people shop for ebooks?
 

MacAllister

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Leslie, I'm the same way. But then, I almost always buy multiple paper copies of books I really love, as well, so I've got loaners. As previously mentioned, though, I'm not really the early-adopter e-book buyer that many other e-book readers are.
 
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