More Publishers Join Macmillan’s Unsupportable eBook Pricing Model

Thanks Jorgen for dropping off this link to a story at Information Week about eBook prices ‘ratcheting’ up after Amazon’s dustup with Macmillan Publishing. Apparently, News Corp.’s HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group have decided to join hands with Macmillan and make their eBooks unpopular with everyone but eBook Pirates.

Those publishers have decided that Amazon’s $9.99 eBook pricing is unsupportable, and have decided to raise their prices. (I can’t believe Amazon’s luck. See our post that shows Amazon’s winning hand. It’s a win/win scenario for the online eBook retailer.)

Those publishers have agreed to ignore the fact that consumers have already decided that any eBook titles at Amazon over $9.99 are worth boycotting. These publishers are actually positioning themselves so that they’ll have to deal with the consumer backlash that Amazon has previously been struggling with. They’ll also lose more when those consumers tell them to drop their prices and the publishers realize they’re giving more money to Amazon in the new deal.

I continue to marvel at the way these corporate giants completely overlook the will and intellect of the consumer.

How did they become corporate giants in the first place?

A New eBook Reader on the Block with an iPad Look…

Yinlips? Not sure about that name. Certainly unforgettable. Honestly, say it: Yinlips. Now shut your eyes and repeat it. See what I mean? Yinlips. Sure it’s the company name, but would you call their device an eBook reader if you could call it a Yinlips? Read the story about the new eBook Reader from Yinlips.

So, to the point, I mention a new eBook Reader with an iPad look in the title. The difference is this one fits the eBook bill because it has an E Ink display in a iPad clone platform. It’s built for eBooks though. Frankly, iPad’s launch spent such a short amount of time on its eBook or iBook functions that it really just seemed like an afterthought to the over-sized video, audio and game device.

There is a lot of criticism of iPad’s design. I think that’s just displaced frustration. It’s what it doesn’t do that has people pissed. The Yinlip eBook Reader might very well present the design in a different light because it delivers on its promise. I think it would be hard to criticize the Yinlips hardware if its main function is to provide an uncluttered and easy-to-view screen for eBook reading.

Amazon versus Macmillan from a different perspective.

Here’s a different take on the Amazon and Macmillan showdown. Nathan Bransford, literary agent, offers a post called The Kindle Missile Crisis. Excellent read.

I think the moral to the story is the consumer will ultimately dictate prices. (After the pirates have filled their pockets on the illicit sale of overpriced digital booty!)

We also can’t forget that if the $9.99 price was offered as a lost leader (where Amazon paid publishers more than they recouped in the sale), after initially selling (and not selling) their eBooks at $14.95 and much higher, then it was in Amazon’s best interest to shake up the market to rearrange things in Amazon’s favor. They needed a new deal to make money in a market that they know will not sustain eBooks over $9.99.

Now that Macmillan’s paying Amazon a larger percentage (Agency rates) for the right to sell their eBooks at a higher price, they’ll also be paying Amazon a larger percentage when the market drives the price of eBook titles down again. I think it’s a cunning win by Amazon. They’ll end up with a bigger percentage of a $9.99 title than they did before the disagreement.

Seven Things Publishers Need to Remember

Jorgen sent us this link to the blog where some basic rules of engagement for the future and present of eBook publishing are set out plain and simple. An excellent read.

Greed Kills: The Big Publishers Open Door to eBook Pirates

Thanks Jorgen for a link to an article at called “E-books: Why Greed Will Cost E-Book Publishers In The End” that predicts the outcome of the recent move by the largest publishing houses to strong arm Amazon and Apple into raising eBook  prices.

This profiteering highlights the amateurism and lack of vision that has plagued the publishing industry and finally forced it to adapt to the digital age. The fact that they failed to learn from those mistakes or alter course hardly makes this new tragic choice a surprise, or its outcome less predictable. Their decision to overcharge their loyal readers is nothing short of piracy, so it follows that their products will soon become pirate treasure. 

Digital piracy only exists while it is profitable. People only use pirated materials if they can justify the theft, as in: Well, we’re getting robbed by the publisher in the first place, so…

You’d think the publishing industry would understand these basic concepts, yah?

Sony Readers, Kindles, iPads and Nooks aside…

Just so we don’t lose sight of what this is really all about. Here is an excellent and detailed article posted by’s Glenn Fleishman entitled: “How Many eBooks, Ultimately?”

Lots of information about the past and future of book titles. An excellent read.

Imagine having access to the history and future of books. Literally every book ever published will soon be available to read. And authors won’t suffer the indignity of going out of print.

Apple Gets Controlling – My iPad Way or the Highway!

In a move reminiscent of Amazon’s most despotic market machination, Apple has ordered Lexcycle to disable its hit App Stanza’s ability to share files via the USB cable.

Read the story at VentureBeat. Conspiracy theorists whisper that it’s another step in Apple’s attempt to isolate its iPad and iPhone from the competition.  (The USB hookup would allow individuals to use non-iBook titles…so…)

Amazon owns Stanza, so definitely, it’s a turf issue. Sadly, a move like this is confirmation that Apple wants iPad to interface with iBooks alone. (At least until the hackers give it what for, yah?)

Come Apple, you know it’s all about content.

Will iPad’s Color make Kindle’s E Ink Obsolete? Not likely…

Thanks to our friend Jorgen for a link to a Huffington Post article that makes some predictions based on wild assumptions about a marketplace and technology that is barely off the drawing board. I wonder why everyone rushes to make predictions on emerging and relatively rare technology.

As much as first adopters are integral to technological developments, anyone who sells technology will tell you that they are not your average consumer. They’re technophiles willing to pay large amounts of money for all the bells and whistles, and as such, poorly suited to make generalizations from. The eBook Revolution needs time. eBook Readers have to make it into the hands of the larger audience.

And to assume that iPad is going to force color on the eBook market, is to disregard the massive backlash of dissatisfaction with the beta version of that product. If anything, iPad proves you need a lot more than color to dominate a nascent eBook marketplace. Comparison charts are nice, but one has to be cautious about making predictions on them, yah? Good God! Some of the products they’re dooming to extinction have yet to hit the market .

Amazon and Macmillan Struggle over Pricing

Take this link from Jorgen to an article at the Wall Street Journal about some nasty market moves that were made by and Macmillan Publishing over the last few days.

Macmillan balked at Amazon’s pricing and was rewarded by Amazon removing all Macmillan titles from their sales lists. Then, following a high level exchange AMAZON BACKED DOWN. This power shift absolutely underlines the current flux in the eBook market caused by the recent arrival of the Apple Tablet.  Amazon is doing what Macmillan wants. MacMillan wants to manipulate the market and encourage eBook Piracy. (Macmillan’s higher prices are dumb since Amazon’s $9.99 price per title is still considered too high by Kindle owners.)

The Amazon letter of surrender explains it:

“Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the “big six” publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don’t believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative.

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

Thank you for being a customer.”

I love this line: “we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity.” Macmillan is continuing to make the same mistakes that got the rest of the traditional publishing world into so much trouble. Rather than evolve, they’re trying to force the market to follow outdated pricing structures and practices. In short, the same business model that forced traditional publishing into a decline: overpriced content, diminishing title selection, etc. etc. etc…

Incredible that Amazon would become the advocate for lower eBook prices. If anything, the arrival of the Apple Table seems to be waking the people up who made Amazon the market giant that it is.

Competition drives sales, increases selection and lowers prices.

Read Macmillan’s rebuttal at the link.

Such an exciting time in the revolution, yah?

Prediction about the Apple iPad

I know, last year it was all about the Kindle. Now it’s all about the Apple iPad and the Kindle. Keeping this in mind Daniweb’s Ron Miller offers this article “Does iPad Mean Death to Kindle?” A very interesting read.

I’m in complete agreement with Mr. Miller’s practical take on what is basically a very new (and unpredictable) industry. Like we’ve said here, the future of eBooks is not an either/or situation. And with a marketplace of many hundred millions, there is plenty of room for personal preference, and so lots of room for a wide variety of devices.