Amazon vs. Macmillan

By now, most of us know all about the drama surrounding Amazon and publishing house Macmillan. If not, quick recap: the end resulted in all Macmillan books (Tor Forge, St. Martin’s, Orb, etc) being pulled from the Amazon US site. The buy button is gone if you try to buy books by authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jenna Maclaine, among other authors but you can still buy those books from the Amazon Marketplace (3rd Party) but the Publisher won’t be getting that money. Weirdly enough, as of last night you could still buy these books on the Amazon Canada site. The whole issue comes out of the President of Macmillan not liking the low prices Amazon is selling EBooks for and he basically wants the charges to be raised to $15.00 an EBook.

I can see his point, sorta kinda. If I am going to buy (say for example) Sherrilyn Kenyon’s latest hardcover for $29.99 CDN and yet those with E-Readers are spending way less on the EBook version ($9.99), I’m going to hold out for the paperback release and be really pissed off about it too. But if he is talking about making the EBook versions cost more than the paperback, thats a crock of shit. To be honest, the whole system sucks but thats for another day because I can rant up to the moon with Hard Cover releases.

Honestly, the whole thing comes down to Greed plain and simple. A special shout out to Steve Jobs as well, the I-Ventions cause yet another issue. No wonder I am so anti-apple. Steve Jobs and Co are letting Publishers set their own Ebook prices, where Amazon does not allow that. So Amazon pulls a snit and removes all Macmillan books. Lovely guys, you’re only hurting YOUR pockets and authors who work damn hard. The three stooges I tell you, Apple, Amazon and Macmillan.

The whole thing bites for authors, it’s unfair to do this to them as they aren’t the ones fighting as far as I know. Shame on both Macmillan and Amazon for costing hardworking authors money.

  • Jenna Maclaine January 30, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Amen, sister!

  • Rachel Cotterill January 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    The solution which springs to my mind is to release the ebook at the same time as the paperback. You have to wait for the different format to come out if you’d rather buy paperback, it’s not really any different if you have to wait for the ebook. Can the publisher set the ebook release date with Amazon?

    • Wicked Lil Pixie January 30, 2010 at 12:05 pm

      Yes, publishers can set the ebook release date but they cannot set the price.

      • Jenna Maclaine January 30, 2010 at 1:31 pm

        I’d just like to add…. I’m not sure about ebooks other than Kindle, but I have learned quite a bit about that during this whole Why Isn’t Bound by Sin Out On Kindle Yet debacle. The publisher can control WHEN they give permission to Amazon to upload it to Kindle, but Amazon has sole control over when they get around to doing that and they do not give release dates to the publisher. It just shows up when it shows up. So publishers really don’t have the control over that (at least as far as Kindle goes) that we think they do.

  • Jenn January 30, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    AMEN – OMG this is a MESS – I am just well, you said it way better than I ever could, I mean WHAT THE HECK – these poor authors who are loosing out on sales due to this whole mess. 🙁

    I agree with Rachel, though those ebook readers would be upset at that, I am guessing…ugh…

  • The Mighty Buzzard January 30, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Or they could release the hardback, paperback, and ebook all at the same time and quit playing games. I know they think it makes them more money but consider how many people might have bought a paperback or paid 20-50% paperback cost for an ebook on release day but can’t see paying $20+ for the hardback. If the publishers had half a clue about how to make money in today’s instant gratification world, that’s exactly what they’d do.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie January 30, 2010 at 10:16 pm

      AMEN! I said as much today and got freaked on. Such BS my head spins and my eyes float.

  • Andrys January 31, 2010 at 5:22 am

    It’s not that Apple “allowed” the publishers to set their own prices, but that, according to Wall St. Journal last week, Steve Jobs has told them they should raise their prices.

    If they do, he gets a bigger cut. For one thing he lured them with the promise of getting a better cut with him, so he then makes less than Amazon on a sale if so. His solution? The publishers raise the rates and he makes more.

    Then since the publishers know they can just sell their books with him (coming out of nowhere into a field he dismissed 2 years ago because “people don’t read anymore” he feels they can pressure Amazon into raising it all to $15 too, now that they have him.

    In the video of Mossberg’s talk with him, after the launch, Mossberg asks him why would people buy a $15 book from him when they could get it from Amazon for $10. He responds that this won’t be a problem. Pressed further he said the prices would be the same.

    And then he smiles.

    For details, read my

    TODAY, Macmillan explains by saying they told Amazon that if they didn’t want to sell the books at $15 Macmillan would do some ‘winnowing’ of the supply — Obviously, Amazon would not want to be stuck with their dregs. ALSO, if Amazon just gave in to this kind of conniving (the good books would go to Apple), every other publisher would see that they could do the same.

    That would be the immediate death of the $10 e-book. And Steve Jobs would continue smiling.

    With him, it’s all a game. His is cornering the market when he’s interested. Doesn’t care at ll about customers who read. Watch his disdain for the meaningfulness of e-ink battery life vs the iPad’s.

    – Andrys

  • Saranna DeWylde January 31, 2010 at 11:23 am

    I’m an author, but I was a reader first. That said, I think it’s insane to charge that much for an ebook.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie January 31, 2010 at 11:47 am

      I can only see them charging more if its to coniside with a hard cover release, other than that no way.

  • Andrys January 31, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Am correcting my entry’s bit about Macmillan “winnowing” the Amazon stock, which many reported he’d said. It was actually “windowing” meaning staggered releases. In Macmillan’s case they are said to want to wait until 7 months after a hard cover launch before an e-book version is released.

    I have a follow-up article on the Macmillan-SteveJobs shenanigans. Business Insider blasted this shadiness today too. I link to it if you haven’t seen it.

    My update on this is at

  • Andrys January 31, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Wicked Lil Pixie,
    That would be a good compromise if one is actually needed, but I don’t think e-book readers with digital books they can’t touch will be wanting to pay more than the $10. But the option would be good. It would have to be limited to a month or so, and I think, no higher than the $12.99 often cited.

  • Andrys January 31, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    I still feel that the owner of a selling store should be able to set its own prices for its own customers once there is an agreement to pay the publisher for the book what the publisher wants. Amazon already pays the large publishers about 50%, it’s said. It can lose money if the books are priced too high, which is why the owner should set the pricing.

  • Tiah February 1, 2010 at 2:27 am

    Ebooks should be cheaper because you don’t have to pay for the paper and the binding and whatever else they do to assemble a book. With a ebook you don’t need all of that. And if I just purchased an e-reader for $300, I would be pissed if I had to pay $15 or more for a book. That is way to much money to spend!
    Libraries better get their stock of books doubled, because the good people will not put up with this greed crap and will visit their library more.

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