anghara (anghara) wrote,
anghara
anghara

Amazon responds

From Amazon's own site:

The Amazon Kindle Team says:
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.



So, they didn't wait until Monday. So it wasn't a "mistake" this time - it really was a genuine and complete hissy fit on Amazon's part.

But holy cow what a feeble response this is to the whole mess.

Let's deconstruct just a little bit:



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.

Yes. Read that again. For E-BOOK BESTSELLERS AND MOST HARDCOVER RELEASES. As in, premium time-sensitive product. I seem to recall Macmillan's own letter talking about a sliding scale, where the price of the self-same e-books eventually drifts down to WELL below Amazon's price ceiling. Gets complicated, this - but possibly it's the possibility that it might leak out that Amazon insists on charging $9.99 for e-books which have been around for a while and which Macmillan has now priced at $5.99 that's worrying Amazon far more than the overwhelming need to protect their customers against paying "more" for an ebook initially. And that "regardless of our viewpoint" - what does that mean, exactly? Take it into negotiation. Negotiate your little hearts out. Sic your lawyers at each other if you need to. But sitting in the corner weeping and knuckling your eyes with your fists like your average kindergartner who is throwing a fit of the sulks is not the adult thing to do here. The Supreme Court has recently ruled that corporations are people. God help us if they're ALL petulant five-year-olds.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles.

Read "We have something to discuss concerning a brand-new business model (ebooks haven't been around THAT long) so we'll just yank ALL your titles (be they fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, whatever) in whichever format you could possibly put them out in, to make our point." Classy, Amazon. Really.

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.

Oh can you count the passive aggressive ways? Can you see Pauline in Peril standing over there with hand theatrically on brow - "We will HAVE to CAPITULATE..." - "Prices NEEDLESSLY high for E-BOOKS" - "but we will WANT TO SELL THEM TO YOU", even at "those" prices...- and - Amazon - you're pulling the monopoly card? Like, SERIOUSLY? I have to tell you, you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. If actually being the publisher of any given book means you have a "monopoly" over your own titles... I think I have a headache just trying to parse out what Amazon thinks they mean by this.

Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book.

Yes, sweetie. They will. That's the POINT.


We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan.

...or what - you'll yank their catalogues, too?...

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.

...BLINK.

Amazon. Honey. Do you really want to set yourself up as a clearing house for the hundreds of thousands of self-published authors whose books MAY or MAY NOT be remotely good enough to read never mind being an "alternative" for people vetted, published and edited by publishing house who have had experience in the process and have a certain knowledge of, and a vested interest in, the level of how much a given book sucketh...? And are you setting your cap at independent presses and self-published authors because... um... they will be easier to keep under Amazon's thumb than the big conglomerates...?

No. Really. *REALLY*.

It always WAS about control. This little love note is all about how much they are suffering, all for the love of books and their readers, but there isn't a line in there that doesn't scream wounded ego and loss of control. They can do what they like - it's their company - but I have seen a BUNCH of people declare publicly that they're pulling their dollar and their buying power from Amazon, over this. And NOTHING in this letter is calculated to bring ANY of those people back.

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

And writing is a business for me. I never expected it to be easy, either. I just never expected it to be as hard as it's turning out to be when the big players are so concerned who gets a bigger slice of the pie that they don't even worry about the little people who BAKED it. Come what may - Amazon's tactics or Macmillan's - there are people out there talking seriously about "pruning their reading lists" because of issues with e-books which the writers hitherto on those reading lists have had nothing to do with whatsoever. So the ultimate outcome...? Let the big boys fight it out. In the meantime, cull the authors.

Thank you for being a customer.

I like the convenience of Amazon. I like the fact that I can go to my computer and get the things I want to read. But seriously - it's a BOOKSTORE, and when a bookstore ceases to sell the kind of stuff I want to read or attempts to "protect" me from "predatory practices" while all the time perpetuating predatory practices all by its little self - well, that trumps convenience.

Keep the Kindle, thanks. There's got to be another way.
Tags: amazonfail
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