Amazon.com removes Macmillan books from site!!

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Unimportant

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I'm aware that it costs a dollar or two less to produce a copy of an e-book than a copy of a mass market paperback, so I figure the e-version of a book ought to cost a dollar or two less than the mmp.

But if a brand new hardcover bestseller hits the shelves at $24, it makes perfect sense that the e-version would be $15. Yeah, I'd gulp at paying $15 for an e-book, but I also gulp at $24 for a hardback. (Especially when you double or triple those numbers, which is what I'd pay here in New Zealand).

It makes the most sense to price the books at what the market will bear. And honestly, $15 for the latest release by Big Name in e-book isn't really out of line when you look at what small presses charge -- around $13 for the e-version and $17 for the trade paperback print verion of a 250 page novel.
 

aruna

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I used to tell people to think of book as something that meant "container." The word book itself in English means "Beech," as in the tree, because the wood of the tree was used to make tablets for writing.

.

Interesting factoid:
The German word for Book is Buch
The German word for Beech is --- Buchen
 

James D. Macdonald

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A brilliant parody of Amazon's weasel:




1.0 out of 5 stars Amazon has a monopoly on Kindles!, January 31, 2010
By Mary Robinette Kowal
Dear Fellow Customers:

Amazon, one of the "big six" online stores, has clearly communicated to me that, regardless of my viewpoint, they are committed to charging $259 for the Kindle.

I have expressed my strong disagreement and the seriousness of my disagreement by refusing to buy a Kindle. I want you to know that ultimately, however, if I want a Kindle I will have to capitulate and accept Amazon's terms because Amazon has a monopoly over their own machine, and I will have to purchase one even at prices I believe are needlessly high for e-book readers. I will at that point decide for myself whether I believe it's reasonable to pay $259 for an e-book with DRM. I don't believe that all of the major e-book manufacturers will take the same route as Amazon. And I know for sure that many print publishers will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced paper books as an alternative.

Kindle is a business for Amazon, and it is also a mission. They never expected it to be easy!

Thank you for being a reader.
 

Komnena

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I definitely don't want a Kindle if books I've paid for can be snatched back at Amazon's whim.
 

Slushie

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NYT article.

Under Macmillan’s new terms, which take effect at the beginning of March, the publisher will set the consumer price of each book and the online retailer will serve as an agent and take a 30 percent commission. E-book editions of most newly released adult general fiction and nonfiction will cost $12.99 to $14.99.

Those terms mirror conditions that five of the six largest publishers — Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Penguin Group and Simon & Schuster — agreed to with Apple last week for e-books sold via the iBookstore for the iPad.
More!
Analysts say Amazon, which accounts for 15 to 20 percent of domestic book sales, probably realized it could not compete with Apple if it wasn’t offering the same range of content. “Amazon figured out pretty quickly that this was a battle they could not win,” said Mike Shatzkin, the chief of the Idea Logical Company, a consultant to publishers.


Macmillan FTW!
 

thothguard51

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So, Amazon gave in just as they knew they would and starting March First, they will only receive the 30% commission for all new works published by MacMillan.

So, if MacMillan is getting the higher price per ebook, and getting a 30% extra commission per ebook, does this mean the authors will now be getting a larger payday?

Where are the authors in all of this?
 

thothguard51

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Really, who wins this battle? Consumers, Publishers, Vendors, or Writers? I see each side losing something, I am just not sure what it is we have lost in reality...
 

thothguard51

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Well, Barnes and Noble would have my vote. I still prefer paper over electronic. I guess the author is still left out in the cold... And without us, there is no content...
 

Chasing the Horizon

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Really, who wins this battle? Consumers, Publishers, Vendors, or Writers? I see each side losing something, I am just not sure what it is we have lost in reality...
I've been following this story and I think the only one who's going to lose in the long term is Amazon. They're making themselves look scared and stupid. They obviously don't think they can compete with Apple on a level playing field, and want to be able to undercut Apple's ebook prices. But it's all silly, because the vast majority of Amazon's sales are print books (and all the other physical stuff they sell). For some reason Amazon seems obsessed with their Kindle, like it's their pet project or something, and now they're all mad because they know they can't win a hardware competition with Apple. They lashed out at Macmillan because they can't get to Apple. Brilliant, and very mature *eyeroll*.

This story is all over my news feeds, so it's not just people close to the publishing and book selling industry who are learning that Amazon is stupid. They're also giving Apple lots of free publicity for the iPad (which is mentioned in most of the articles). Apple should send them a thank-you note. :D

Oh, and Kindle owners will probably lose too, since they're at the mercy of Amazon's whims. Sorry. But in the long run this is going to be good for publishers, readers, and writers (because anything that's good for publishers and readers is also good for us). Since the iPad is a mobile computing device, not just an e-reader, lots of people who've never read an ebook will buy one, and then will start reading ebooks because Apple will make it so simple to buy them. I remember when iTunes and the iPod first came out. Digital downloads of music and MP3 players already existed, of course, but they were pretty much only being used by geeks. Now everyone and their grandmother buys and plays their music through digital downloads. I doubt ebooks will catch on quite the way MP3s did (for a long list of reasons), but Apple has an amazing ability to popularize technology. They did it for smart phones and MP3 players, and now they want to do it for ebooks and e-readers. This can only be a good thing for everyone but the competition (i.e. Amazon).
 

Chasing the Horizon

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Well, Barnes and Noble would have my vote. I still prefer paper over electronic. I guess the author is still left out in the cold... And without us, there is no content...
How can something just hurt the writers? We're connected with our publishers, so what hurts them hurts us, but it can't JUST hurt us. Publishers can't exist without talented writers. They know this. It's why they wade through slush piles and take risks on new writers. Amazon can't exist without publishers, because they're a retailer and need the products to sell. They seem to have forgotten this. Amazon needs Macmillan a whole lot more than Macmillan needs Amazon. Macmillan knows that, which is why they stood their ground. Amazon apparently figured it out, since they backed down.

Macmillan was founded in 1843. They have survived recessions, the Great Depression, and the advent of radio, movies, television, and the internet. They will survive this recession and the advent of the ebook. They will continue taking new writers, because publishing good books is the key to success for any publisher (and they obviously know this, or they wouldn't have survived 167 years).
 

thothguard51

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CTH, I totally agree and get the points of publsihers need writers and amazon needs the publishers. My think is MacMillan just got a 30% increase in profit with this deal since Amazon is backing down from their 60%. Do you think MacMillan will bulk with agents and author now who want a bigger share of royalty on e-books as well? I think all the publishers are going to try to hold the line with their authors. I could be wrong and they all might just suddenly decide to share the wealth, but I have serious doubts.

This is what I mean by the authors are going to be left out in the cold. We will now have to fight our own publishers for an increase. Or maybe not...
 

thothguard51

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Depends on if Borders can stay out of receivership...

They can't even keep bookstores open...
 

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Why is it the author is the one who always gets screwed, and no one ever says thank you when they are finished screwing us. I keep wondering where publishers would be if authors banned together and refused to work with them unless certain conditions are met. Oh, thats right, its each man for himself in this game. Just teasing, sort of, as we are somewhat in competition with each other, even though there is room. But seriously, the vendors are getting serious, the publishers are getting serious, the reading public is getting serious. Where are the authors in all of this? Damn, I should have started all of this 25 years ago when it was so much easier...

It would be very nice if all writers could band together and set standards and practices. Very nice.

It will never happen.

First, it's illegal. (In the US, at least.) We're self-employed and therefore cannot form a union or other entity for the purpose of setting standards and practices.

Second, you will never, in your lifetime or mine or probably our grandkids', see ALL writers agree on anything. Ever. Get six writers in a room, start a casual discussion about the business, and see how fast you get passionate disagreements. Now multiply that by tens of thousands.

Third, as a part of Second, I remind you that the Aspiring Writer will do anything, accept any shitty deal, to Get Published. (Not all, of course, but many. Possibly most.)

So ... dream on.

It's such a nice dream.

:e2bummed:

 

kuwisdelu

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When Writers Go on Strike!!!


That would good idea for a book.

But I won't write it, because I'm on strike.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Taking some time off from changing links to Amazon into links to Barnes&Noble and Powell's, to respond to Brian's foolishness.


Well, a claim that something is "irrelevant" would be stronger for some reasoning behind it. If it really were "irrelevant" then I submit that mass paperbacks would price the same as hardcopy.

You probably meant "hardcover," but your problem is still the same: Paperbacks sell many times more copies than hardcovers. That's a fact that you're still ignoring. If we take total numbers of sales into account, e-books should sell for more than hardcovers.

The cost of reproduction of an individual e-book is still irrelevant.


James, here are the two points that I raised with Medievalist that really need answering, and they got lost in the noise perhaps.

They've been answered many times, before you even posted them, but go ahead anyway.

"In fact, you presented something in your previous post at the very beginning that undercuts the entire argument: the $2 per volume cost of a mass-distribution paperback. The retail price of a mass-distribution paperback runs between $6 and $10 these days. Yet all of those costs you mentioned as being the same for e-books as for hardcovers are also the same for paperbacks. The big publishing houses are claiming that they cannot sell e-books for $9.99 profitably, but they DO sell mass-distribution paperbacks (which, although cheaper to produce than hardcovers, are more expensive to produce than e-books) for that much or less. Are you going to claim that they are not making a profit on sale of paperbacks?"

No, she's not going to claim that they aren't making a profit on paperbacks. The number of paperbacks sold dwarfs the number of hardcovers sold, which in turn dwarfs the number of e-books sold.

You're also assuming that the cost per unit of e-books is a lot lower than $2.00/each. Do you have anything to back that up?

To make this simple enough for you to understand: If they make one penny of profit on each paperback, and they sell 100,000 paperbacks, they've made $1,000. But to make that same $1,000 on 10,000 hardcovers sold, the hardcover would have to go for ten cents more than the paperback (assuming cost of production was equal). And to make the same $1,000 on 100 e-books sold, they'd have to charge ten dollars more than the paperback. Understand now?

And:
"First, if Macmillan is issuing some e-books priced at $5.99, clearly the claim that they cannot make a profit issuing them at $9.99 is untrue.

Once they've paid back the sunk costs, the costs of acquisition, editing, fact checking, copy editing, proofreading, and typesetting ... yes, they can charge less. Your point is utterly bogus. The $5.99 books will come long after the hardcover and the paperback hit the stores.

"Second, if they are pricing the books from $12.99 up "at first release, concurrent with a hardcover," the obvious reason why they are doing so is to avoid competition between their two products. The same reason why some other publishing houses are delaying e-book issuance for some months after issuing the hardcover (although evidently Macmillan isn't one of those). It has nothing to do with the cost of production of the e-book, and to suggest that it does is disingenuous. Both the pricing of paperbacks, and the lower-end pricing of e-books issued by publishing houses, prove that what you're saying about cost of production and pricing necessity is untrue.

No one has claimed it has to do with the cost of e-book production. It has to do with the cost of all production. You're also confusing (again) paperbacks with e-books. They aren't equivalent in terms of volume of sales.

"It could not be more obvious that publishers CAN sell e-books profitably for a good deal LESS than the $9.99 ceiling Amazon imposes. They just don't want to."

If you're willing to wait a few years after initial publication, and accept that the cost of e-book conversion will have to be divided among a lower number of actual sales, then you'll see cheaper e-books.

Care to take a stab at answering those two points?

Done.


Now I'm off to remove some more links to Amazon.
 

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This is what I mean by the authors are going to be left out in the cold. We will now have to fight our own publishers for an increase. Or maybe not...

No.

The royalties authors receive are in their contracts. There's no wiggle room for that; no matter what, Macmillan or any other publisher has to pay the contracted royalties.

The royalties are based on cover price. If the cover price increases, royalties increase.
 
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JulieB

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Yes, and it's going to be an uphill battle convincing the upset Kindle readers of that fact.

Some get it, but most don't. Most think we authors are going to be rolling in dough. Most think we can just ditch our contracts and self-publish from now on. They're making us out to be the bad guys.

How many of you can go to your publisher right now and demand more money?

Anyone? Beuller?

Unless you're currently in contract negotiations, the answer is no.

And I am preaching to the choir. Sorry.
 

Dave.C.Robinson

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I'm an ebook reader, and an ebook buyer (though I own a Sony not a Kindle).

I'm disgusted by Amazon's behavior in this dispute, and also by the reaction of a number of Kindle owners who are cheering Amazon on. As a disclaimer, I very rarely buy Macmillan ebooks because I find most are too expensive for my budget.

I don't mind paying $15 as a "get it while it's hot" price for something that's currently in hardcover. I've bought both Baen and Tor ebooks for that price in the past and didn't feel cheated. Where I have a problem is when I can buy the paperback for $8 and the ebook is still $15 or even more. In those cases I'll either buy paperback or buy from another publisher.

I'm not arguing with the publishers' right to charge what they want - I'm just voting with my wallet when it comes to buying ebooks.

When Amazon pulled Macmillan books they messed with my tribe and I won't stand for it.
 

san_remo_ave

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Still no 'Buy It Now' buttons on Macmillan books (as of 7:20pm Central)

Also, I'd like to point out that, as a Kindle owner, I am in no way 'stuck' with Amazon as an ebook provider. Nor am I subject to any 'whim' they might delete any ebooks I purchase from them. I backup any Amazon purchase on my desktop and I regularly buy from other stores.

FWIW, I had quite the festive time this weekend purchasing Macmillan (and other pubs) ebooks NOT from Amazon. Yesterday I transferred them to my Kindle via USB and Calibre.

Simple. Easy. Still e-readin' on!
 
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