Sunday, January 31, 2010

More on the Amazon-MacMillan kerfuffle

So, no imagined dialog this time (sorry, I have other work to do). But for those of you interested in the latest in the Amazon-MacMillan skirmish, I give you the following:

Charles Stross with his break-down of what Amazon and MacMillan were trying to accomplish, respectively. I tend to lean in Charles's direction on this one, but opinions clearly vary if you check out the comments.

Tobias Buckell's many thoughts on what is happening, and why he will no longer be selling his books on Amazon. He gives a nice breakdown of the costs behind what it takes to produce a book, which helps debunk some of the "But the price-point on an e-book is Zero, so I should get them for dirt cheap!" camp's arguments.

Laura Ann Gilman has apparently culled Amazon's (testy?) response to MacMillan's letter and proposal. Love the snarky interspersed comments from her, btw. :)

Want to know more about what's at the root of all this? Fashionista gives an explanation of the agency model that is one of the key issues at the center of this disagreement. ETA: She also gives a nice summary of why, while it may look like Amazon is the good guy for trying to hold the $9.99 e-book line, in the long run a lot of people would lose on the e-book pricing front (except for Amazon, that is).

I have to say that while neither MacMillan nor Amazon are operating out of any sense of altruism here, I am more dubious of Amazon's actions. I worry about any one company that covers so much of the on-line sales and distribution pipe also being the one with proprietary control of the format of ebook distribution as well. Far happier for all of us, I think, if we prmote competition and, in a shiny future, see a common e-format to allow people to read their contents on the device of their choice. May not get there, but I am happier in this instance if the ball lands in MacMillan's court than I am with it in Amazon's.

Also, I just have to say: MacMillan at least put out a professional, adult letter on the matter; but Amazon? Jeez, someone get those kids a balloon and an ice cream before they really have a fit.

1 comment:

Shawn Enderlin said...

I do find this whole thing a bit ironic.

It wasn't that long ago that Amazon began offering DRM free MP3's as an alternative to Apple's DRM music files on iTunes. That act played an significant role in helping to break up Apple's stranglehold on the music industry.

Now, it's Amazon who has the publishing industry by the short hairs, and it's Apple's iPad and associated contracts with publishers that gave MacMillian the opportunity to fence with Amazon.

It just goes to show, neither one of them are acting in any of our interests. It's all about $$$.