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Amazon Pulls Book Publisher's Listings; Ebook Wars Underway?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the grab-some-popcorn dept.

Books 297

As of last night, Amazon stopped listing all books from Macmillan Publishers, referring searches to other sellers instead. According to the New York Times, this is because Macmillan is one of the companies that now has an agreement to sell ebooks through Apple's new iBooks store, and asked Amazon to raise the price of their ebooks from $9.99 to $15. An industry source told the Times that the de-listing is Amazon's way of "expressing its strong disagreement" with the idea of a price hike. Gizmodo suggests this is the first volley in an Apple-Amazon ebook war. Quoting: "It feels like a repeat of the same s*** Universal Music, and later, NBC Universal pulled with iTunes, trying to counter the leverage Apple had because of iTunes' insane marketshare. Same situation here, really: Content provider wants more money/control over their content, fights with the overwhelmingly dominant, embedded service that's selling the content. Last time, everybody compromised and walked away mostly happy: Universal and NBC got more flexible pricing, iTunes got DRM-free music and more TV shows for its catalog to sell. ... The difference in this fight is that Macmillan is one of the publishers signed to deliver books for Apple's iBooks store. They have somewhere to run. And credibly. That wasn't really the case with record labels, who tried to fuel alternatives to dilute iTunes power, and failed."

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Kindle v. iPad (5, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962334)

Amazon knows they're going to have to be way cheaper in order to sell any more Kindles. The problem with the Kindle is, well, it kind of sucks. I am a regular Amazon customer and have been using one since the second version came out, but there are some major problems wth it.
  1. Screen contrast. The Kindle's contrast ratio is worse than newspaper printing or the cheapest paperback. You can read it in direct sunlight, sure, but can you read it indoors without a 200W light bulb directly behind you? I get eyestrain with it after just 15 minutes, but I can read a good LCD for hours.
  2. Bad for illustrations. More than half the books I read are technical in nature and have diagrams and equations that require zooming to read. The problem is zooming is incredibly slow and laborious on the Kindle, and in most cases the bitmap image quality is not sufficient to read anyway.
  3. Freagin slow. Right, it doesn't matter when you're just paging through a novel, but this makes it useless for shopping for books, web browsing, or quickly finding something in a reference book.
  4. Titles are too expensive. Many paperbacks are SAME price delivered 2nd-day UPS to my doorstep (with Prime free shipping). What the fuck? And then more expensive titles are only a few dollars cheaper for the Kindle edition but of vastly poorer quality and without the ownership and durability advantages of a dead tree.

Apple is going to absolutely slaughter them on 1 through 3, maybe not 4. I'm looking forward to having another eBook reader to choose from.

Amazon dropping publishers is just an offense to me as their customer. I have no sympathy for them here. Maybe some day ePaper will deliver on its promise but for now I've given up.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (5, Insightful)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962406)

So you think the titles are too expensive, then you lambast Amazon for dropping a publisher which tried to hike their prices by 50%?

Re:Kindle v. iPad (5, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962436)

It's entirely reasonable. They are a corporation. He is a customer. He shouldn't care too much about what they are up to as long as they are providing him a product that he desires.

And as they say, if they aren't providing the product, they aren't providing the product.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962478)

So you think the titles are too expensive, then you lambast Amazon for dropping a publisher which tried to hike their prices by 50%?

Exactly. eBooks are _already_ overpriced. Not available AND overpriced is even worse. I couldn't care less for them and I'm not even saying Amazon is entirely to blame. It seems the publishers have the upper hand, now that they can play them against Apple. waaah.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (5, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962554)

As usual, there are two sides to this story.

On the one hand, Macmillan are perfectly entitled to strike deals with whoever they want in order to get the best bang for their buck. Fair enough if they can make it work.

On the other hand, they have managed to shoot themselves in the foot with pinpoint accuracy. They have failed to consider that by pinning their products to Apple's iPad, they are (a) gambling on the success of hardware that won't be commercially available for another two months and (b) failing to realise that iBooks is limited to the US for the forseeable future, so they have casually abandoned their international market.

It seems to me that some MBA sales manager has gone charging off to the latest trendy bidder without saddling up his brains first.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (3, Insightful)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962780)

On the other hand, they have managed to shoot themselves in the foot with pinpoint accuracy.

You speak as if MacMillan pulled their offerings from the Kindle store. They didn't. Amazon delisted them from their store because (according to Amazon) Macmillan demanded higher prices.

Wether or not their books are entitled to sell at those higher prices is sortof an academic question-- I bought a new book on my Kindle last night for $15, so it's not like it's unheardof or anything. Since Amazon's explanation of their pricing issue makes no sense, the only reason for them delisting the books that remains is that Amazon is trying strongarm people that try to sell thru the iBook store. You're seeing Amazon get pissed because Macmillan DARES try to sell it's books thru another ebook store that doesn't suck.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963204)

You speak as if MacMillan pulled their offerings from the Kindle store. They didn't.

You're quite right. Seems I didn't saddle up my brains...

Re:Kindle v. iPad (3, Interesting)

BlackCreek (1004083) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963468)

the only reason for them delisting the books that remains is that Amazon is trying strongarm people that try to sell thru the iBook store.

No, Amazon is trying to strong arm people trying to price hike in their store.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (5, Insightful)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962466)

While I'm oh so certain the omission of LCD screen quality has nothing to do with any possible bias of yours, I would like to remind you that the Kindle has a e-ink screen is much easier on the eyes than an LCD is. The development of new kinds of e-ink tech (both color and faster refreshing) also gives Amazon a road-map for future screen improvements. Apple's tablet requirements mean they will be stuck with LCD for the foreseeable future. OLED would solve their problems I imagine, but it will be years before 10 inch OLEDs are affordable enough for mass market adoption.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Informative)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962548)

I would like to remind you that the Kindle has a e-ink screen is much easier on the eyes than an LCD is.

Saying it doesn't make it true, but thank you for "reminding" me of the points I already specifically addressed. Have you actually used a Kindle in typical indoor lighting conditions for any length of time?

The development of new kinds of e-ink tech (both color and faster refreshing) also gives Amazon a road-map for future screen improvements.

Agreed, I like what ePaper manufacturers are promising for the future. But I would like a usable eBook reader today.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (5, Insightful)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962620)

I would like to remind you that the Kindle has a e-ink screen is much easier on the eyes than an LCD is.

Saying it doesn't make it true, but thank you for "reminding" me of the points I already specifically addressed. Have you actually used a Kindle in typical indoor lighting conditions for any length of time?

I'm an amusingly good test subject for this. For the last few weeks I've been reading off my Kindle almost every night by the light of a single Candle two feet behind my shoulder. I've had no eyestrain problems at all. If I did I'd light more candles, or maybe use a book light. This let's me read in a relatively dim room without bothering my sleeping wife. It's a lot more pleasant than the hours of reading I do on an LCD every day.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Funny)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962856)

What's this wife thing you talk about? Remember, you are posting on Slashdot.

Humor logic fail (1)

Attack DAWWG (997171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963330)

If you don't know what a wife is, how come you know it's out of place to post about one on Slashdot?

OMG humor logic fail

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963536)

This let's me read in a relatively dim room without bothering my sleeping wife. It's a lot more pleasant than the hours of reading I do on an LCD every day.

Have you tried reading recreationally on an LCD tablet by candlelight while in bed with your sleeping wife?
I'm thinking you're failing to control all the variables in this little experiment.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962658)

Yes, I have used e-ink screens for extended periods of time and I'd like to tell you that you're full of shit or too old man.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (4, Interesting)

tirk (655692) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963276)

I for one prefer my Kindle (ver 1 for that matter) over an LCD screen any day, but not for the eyestrain reason. I can read my kindle by the firelight of my fireplace, or a candle, and not have any issues with eye strain at all. While I can read my LCD in a completely dark room, or by any indoor light, it does eventually give me eyestrain, but it's really not very much. For me the big difference is in power. I can read my kindle for two weeks and not have to plug it in. Even my best LCD laptop only goes about 5 hours. On a 10 hour plane flight I'd either have to bring extra batteries, or only read for half the flight. And on camping trips, forget it, but with the Kindle I can be on a week long camping trip and still know I'll have something to read.

In the end, I think each has it's place, just as people debate which is better, a PC or Mac, each has strengths and each has weaknesses. The Kindle, Nook. iPad issues will be the same, and in the end, it comes down to what do you want out of it, and what are the most important features to you. That will be all the difference in making one better then the other.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

Frools (1326479) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963280)

I don't have a kindle but i do have a 6" e-ink e-reader.
I've read from it for hours straight indoors, usually a halogen bedside lamp, with no problems at all, same cant be said for reading pdfs etc. on my LCD monitor.
I'm thoroughly sold on reflective displays for reading.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962660)

This is why I won't be buying an e-reader any time soon. Now that I have finally finished my university studies (for the time being) my main motive has been put to one side; I would have liked the idea of being able to carry the contents of my huge (and seriously expensive) molecular biology and biochemistry textbooks on a lightweight gadget. But the devices have to have much better resolution and get a lot more robust before I plough that kind of money into a purchase.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962502)

"#
# Titles are too expensive. Many paperbacks are SAME price delivered 2nd-day UPS to my doorstep (with Prime free shipping). What the fuck? And then more expensive titles are only a few dollars cheaper for the Kindle edition but of vastly poorer quality and without the ownership and durability advantages of a dead tree."

are you sure you're thinking of Amazon? a quick search suggests that you have no idea what you are talking about. perhaps my window's calc is broken, but i'm seeing no less than a 35% reduction in price for every book i can think to search for.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (3, Interesting)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962558)

Wait for it ... the publishers may be thinking they can get away with a premium for a book on iTunes. It's not beyond the realm of possibility. It doesn't seem to me that Amazon is the entity that people should be upset with here, but I haven't been awake long.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (4, Insightful)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963028)

Indeed, it looks like the publishers hiked up the price on iTunes, presumably in full cooperation with Apple, and didn't want Amazon to gain an advantage by having cheaper books. Amazon looks like its on the side of the good guys here, while Apple is the opposite.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (3, Interesting)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962684)

Example of a recent actual purchase: Food Rules [amazon.com] . $5 paper, $5 kindle.

I'd consider that a particularly good example of getting far less value in the kindle version, because that is exactly the kind of book that I would want to give to a friend when I'm done with it.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Interesting)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963030)

I want them to give away a free digital copy of a book with the physical book. This seems to make sense to me - the e-book is essentially about convenience and portability (ability to carry a lot of your collection around in one small-ish device).

I don't know that it work as a business model, though: you buy the physical hard copy. You get a DRMed-up-the-wazoo ebook copy along with it. You put the physical book on the shelf and read the ebook on your device of choice. Or you sell the physical copy, while you read the ebook that you can't transfer because it's locked-down (ostensibly).

  People who don't want the ebook buy new and discard the ebook or buy from second-hand book-sellers: people who only wanted the ebook - this will be a smaller section of people buying the book new, because many people will want the physical copy as well as the electronic copy - used for convenience. People who want an ebook must buy the physical hard copy, new - since second hand books won't come with them.

Crappy idea? Unworkable?

Re:Kindle v. iPad (3, Informative)

Fallingcow (213461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963472)

Anyone who wanted just the ebook copy could buy the dead-tree, get the ebook, then sell the dead-tree and effectively get a discount while flooding the second hand market with like-new copies and driving down the price.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (5, Informative)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962806)

...but of vastly poorer quality and without the ownership and durability advantages of a dead tree.

I'm not so sure that we can count on such a durability advantage. This is a bit of a hobby-horse of mine, so I'll try to keep it brief...

I am of the opinion that in the future, the 20th and most of the 19th centuries are going to appear to surviving generations as something of a "dark age". Since publishers started using woodchips to provide the requisite fibre to make paper in about the 1820s, residual acids in the paper have had a destructive effect on the paper. While some quality publications still appear on rag or otherwise stabilised or buffered paper, much has simply disintegrated.

The trouble is, although printers must be aware of the problem, they don't seem to be doing anything about it. I have many texts from the 1980s which are in very poor shape, which is bad enough. But what has disappointed me more is that a number of books I have bought *new* in the last year are already showing signs of serious foxing.

Although I still love the feel - and the smell - of printed paper, I'm inclined to think the textual content has a better chance of survival in digital form, provided that it is stripped of proprietary formats and DRM.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (4, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962544)

I wouldn't be surprised if iPad e-books cost even more than on Kindle, since they're higher resolution and in color. What difference does that make to publishing costs, you ask? Virtually none! But whether from tape to CD, or VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray, publishers always use any bump in functionality to increase the price as well.

But is it more functional? Personally, I think the backlit LCD screen is the achilles heel of the iPad as a e-book reader. Being readable outdoors, and consuming no power at all unless turning pages, is what virtually defines the usefulness of an ebook. But I look at how color screens ruined the mp3 player market by pushing out B&W LCD screens that were sunlight visible and had great battery life, with color screens that were in no way superior for an mp3 player, and I fear the same for e-paper.

CNN is running an iPad vs Kindle [cnn.com] fluff piece thought experiment this morning and give virtually no weight to the utility of e-paper vs. the pizzazz of color, and unfortunately I expect the same from most consumers.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962942)

But is it more functional?

Well, to be fair, the iPad clearly *is* more functional than the Kindle. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it will succeed commercially, which is an entirely different matter.

In my personal opinion, Apple has wasted an opportunity to redefine the tablet market, and instead given us an oversized iPod Touch that doesn't fit in anyone's pocket. This assessment might not go down well with the fanboys, but although I don't have any animus against Apple in particular (I have an iPod and a 2nd-hand MacBook) I won't be buying this gadget.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963186)

Well, to be fair, the iPad clearly *is* more functional than the Kindle.

At least the Kindle is really good at one important thing, reading books. What is the iPad really good at? I've long thought tablets were useless; just laptops without keyboards. And now Apple gives us another tablet which, moreover, is limited to the applications available only through Apple, and that's what's supposed to make tablets finally work!?

Re:Kindle v. iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963528)

E-books are mostly text. How can text be higher resolution? Seriously, you can adjust the font size to suit your needs.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Interesting)

mejogid (1575619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962556)

1. I've had the exact opposite experience - reading long journal articles and the like on a kindle is a far nicer experience than trying to do the same off my laptop. Given its glossy screen, I can't imagine the iPad will cope too well either if you sit with a 200W light behind you. I still prefer books given the choice, but spending a significant amount of time in front of an LCD sucks in my experience. 2. That's fair enough - it's more of a fundamental problem with e-ink, although I'm sure Amazon could do something with the software (a single button to zoom straight in). 3. This seems to be very similar to 2 - the fact is it's a very specialised device that does one thing well (IMO) and a few value-added things significantly less well. Your reference book point - when I'm looking for something specific I find the search function sufficient but I guess that's a personal thing. 4. This is more a case of publishers not wanting to sabotage their existing business model I'd have thought - hopefully things will equalise over time. Unless publishers lower prices to undermine Amazon I can't see this changing. Hopefully competition will eventually benefit all parties involved in this respect. Really, I think the Kindle will remain the superior straight reading device - it's a vast improvement over a standard LCD in my experience and in that of friends who've tried ebook readers. That said, Apple's bling-factor and the devices other features could be enough to relegate the Kindle to a niche. We'll see...

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962652)

It has a glossy screen?

Oh, then I wouldn't ever buy -- or recommend -- one, and I'm certainly not alone.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963006)

It has a glossy screen? Oh, then I wouldn't ever buy -- or recommend -- one

Agreed. I endure my MacBook's glossy screen because that's what I've got, but I much preferred the matt screen of the old iBook G4, despite the lower resolution. I'm inclined to suspect some fetish on the part of Steve Jobs for Shiny Things(TM).

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962800)

Given its glossy screen, I can't imagine the iPad will cope too well either if you sit with a 200W light behind you.

That's pretty easy to fix with some inexpensive anti-glare film [photodon.com] . Because this stuff exists I'd rather they sold devices with glossy screens so people have the option of simply applying the anti-glare film if they want a matte screen.

Of course it'd be nice to have a choice between glossy and matte screens from the device manufacturer but that would double the type of models that need to be produced. Since most people care about how the display looks they tend to go for glossy screens since the depth and contrast of a glossy screen is superior to that of a matte screen by their very nature. It's a no-brainer for a manufacturer to standardize on glossy instead of matte in order to keep a simplified product line.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (0, Redundant)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962588)

Amazon dropping publishers is just an offense to me as their customer.

It also sounds like an insanely immature way of answering a question. The article wasn't too clear to someone like me who doesn't work in publishing, or maybe I'm just not awake yet, but it sounds like MacMillan just asked them to raise their prices, not "Macmillian said 'Raise the prices or don't sell our stuff'."

Here's an exchange which would have been much more professional and profitable for both parties, authors, and customers:

Macmillan"Hey we want to charge more for our books"
Amazon: "GO DIE IN A HOLE FOR QUESTIONING OUR PRICING STRUCTURE, YOU ****ING ****HEAD!!! But we will continue selling your books at the price we decide."

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962734)

You are absolutely correct, few people recognize that iPad is taking on the Kindle, and on screen contrast, which is a weakness of current e-ink. I bought a Kindle 2 last year myself, only to return it on that issue alone. It was also painfully slow at everything else - the web browsing capability was painfully bad. However, one big thing Kindle has in it's favor is (now global) whispernet. Being able to buy books anywhere. Free Wifi isn't exactly pervasive - but it's around. However, I'm not enough of a book reader to keep it for that alone. Amazon probably will have the offering advantage as far as number of e-book offered (at first).

Apple could have beat Kindle handily if they went with a Pixel-Qi dual purpose screen. With the energy savings needed -- some people still prefer the e-ink over LCD for longterm read and/or battery. Maybe an OLED screen for sheer contrast. If they had a formfactor like Alway's Innovating notebook (bottom half is just a keyboard and big battery, top half is everything else plus another battery):
http://netbook-review.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/always-innovating-touch-book.jpg [netbook-review.com]

I believe they would have blasted some serious competition, including netbooks.

As it is, I have to wait and see how this product works out. I don't think it is as bad as everyone says. I just had to introduce my 45 y/o uncle to computers for the first time - his experience is limited to ATMs and the like. He always dictated emails to some hapless family member and doesn't even know how to get into his account, let alone browse the web. I would have given him an Apple, but his budget dictate something with Windows 7 (as cheap as possible). It's plain painful. I can't blame W7, OS X can be also bad for a complete neophyte (sans the malware) -- but a netbook with a "kiddy" iPhone OS would have been superb. (Many Linux Netbooks run such a system). Put in the settings once and forget about it. Press big, shiny icons to do what you want to do. Who is going to be running CAD or photoshop on that powerlevel anyway?

But I think Apple had been too protective of their notebook line to let that happen. A shame.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (2, Insightful)

pacoder (1148701) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962794)

Battery life is a big point....I recharge my kindle every few weeks of constant use. Make sure you iPad is charged daily or you'll be sol.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (4, Informative)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962826)

In Britain, ebooks tend to be expensive relative to paper books because paper books have 0% VAT (sales tax), and ebooks have 17.5% VAT, or 15% if they are delivered from Luxembourg, which they quite often are. Is it a similar situation where you are?

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963016)

.... Screen contrast. The Kindle's contrast ratio is worse than newspaper printing or the cheapest paperback. You can read it in direct sunlight, sure, but can you read it indoors without a 200W light bulb directly behind you? I get eyestrain with it after just 15 minutes, but I can read a good LCD for hours. ...

I'm the opposite - I can read my Sony Reader for hours beside a 60W lightbulb but an LCD screen gives me eyestrain within an hour.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963174)

The short-term fear that the publishers have is making less net profit.

But the even bigger fear that they have is that long term, the publishers are becoming irrelevant.

Now, non-experts can readily publish a book. Why will these guys continue to exist? For their marketing expertise and their ability to give an author an advance.

Then again, someone else can do that too. Instead of 4 big publishing houses, there can be thousands of small, capable ones... as all the publishing houses can be small, nimble, and local. The day of the big publisher is numbered.

Goodbye, big publishing house. You are no longer needed here. You get two weeks severance.

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963220)

  1. Screen contrast. The Kindle's contrast ratio is worse than newspaper printing or the cheapest paperback. You can read it in direct sunlight, sure, but can you read it indoors without a 200W light bulb directly behind you? I get eyestrain with it after just 15 minutes, but I can read a good LCD for hours.

speak for you yourself.

Kindle's screen is a huge improvement over an lcd. I say this because I have migraines triggered by bright light and a kindle screen is was easy on my eyes than LCD.
 

Re:Kindle v. iPad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963486)

I also own a kindle, and I can say he's right on all 4 counts. I also feel his pain about shutting out a publisher, even an expensive one, because the Kindle store is no where near complete. It's incredibly frustrating to find 2/3s of a series in kindle format, then the final book only in hard copy because it was a different publisher.

Personally though, I don't think the ipad bookstore will take off. The Ipad itself will have a limited market, and the market of people who want to read books with the thing will be even smaller. Kindle's advantage is that they designed it to address the shortcomings of other electronic devices and provide a more focused reading experience. The ipad lacks not only e-ink, but also the slim silhouette, off-screen page-turning buttons, and free wireless book browsing/delivery.

Frankly, I think there are better things to do with your ipad than read books, and those things will sell units while the itunes bookstore gets little attention. I'll pay more attention if Apple moves away from text-dump ebooks, and instead starts creating exciting multimedia documents with imbedded audio, video, diagram galleries, freehand annotations, etc. $15 dollar .txt files just isn't going to do it.

Yoda says (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962342)

begun the book wars have

Abuse of dominant marketshare... (2, Interesting)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962346)

No comment on the technical legality of Amazon's de-listing, but it's certainly an abuse of power by conventional standards. What we might call "strong-arming." And yes, refusing to sell merchandise can be strong-arming when you're by far the dominant seller.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962430)

Well Wal-Mart does it all the time, so I think it is possible to do it without legal repercussions. If a company won't meet Wal-Mart's chosen price, or won't do RFID the way Wal-Mart wants, they just drop them. Seems similar to this where Amazon is dropping them over price.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (2, Interesting)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962488)

The thing about the kindle though is that you can still purchase or acquire ebooks outside of their store, so while it's a pain for consumers I don't think there's anything legally wrong with it.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (5, Interesting)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962486)

No comment on the technical legality of Amazon's de-listing, but it's certainly an abuse of power by conventional standards.

No. Amazon sells eBooks for less than $10. MacMillan doesn't like that idea, and wants $15. Amazon is under no obligation to sell MacMillan's books if MacMillan won't agree to Amazon's terms.

I don't even like the idea of a $10 eBook, much less a $15 one, so I guess I won't be buying any MacMillan eBooks either....

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962592)

Lower pricing would make volume sales a lot bigger, IMHO.

Would I think twice about spending $5 on an eBook?

Probably not.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962858)

What are you talking about? I just bought the Vieira biography of Irving Thalberg (Univ of California Press) for $15.99. There is no hard-and-fast one-price rule on Amazon's Kindle store.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (2, Informative)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963320)

IIRC, the rule is that the Kindle book can't be more expensive than the dead-tree version (or has to be below X% of the paper thing), rather than an absolute price ceiling.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (1)

Bauguss (62171) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962890)

sorry but the book I just recently bought thru the kindle store on my ipod was $16. So Amazon apparently has no problem selling expensive books. I really don't understand what Amazon is trying to do here. I admire their effort to try and get publishers to realize that the distribution model should warrant discounts, but they are likely to fail. Supply and demand of a book is going to lead to a natural price point regardless of what Amazon or the rest of us would like to see the books priced at.

Re:Abuse of dominant marketshare... (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962694)

When your supplier pulls a 50% price increase on you, that's a pretty big provocation!

Is Apple ePub DRM free? (3, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962348)

I'm wondering if Apple's ePub books are DRM free? If so then folk do have somewhere to run - they can buy any one of the myriad of other e-ink readers out there.

If they have DRM that resticts users to an iPad, then it's a different story. The 1.5lb iPad with a backlit lcd screen is unlikely to be the reading choice of the masses.

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (5, Interesting)

cob666 (656740) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962508)

I agree with the parent here regarding the actual viability of the iPad as a ebook reader. I read books on my tablet PC when I first got it and after a book or two I found myself not reading as much. I got my self a Sony eReader a few years ago and I couldn't be happier with my decision.

The backlit screen is not comfortable to read on and I would be surprised if the iPad is ever considered to be a true eReader.

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (5, Informative)

mejogid (1575619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962590)

It's DRM'd to high hell [teleread.org] - books, movies and apps. The only reason the music isn't is thanks to competition from the likes of Amazon. There's something slightly frustrating about using an explicitly open format and then spewing their own brand of DRM all over it.

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962772)

Note that the source in that article is Adobe, who are only pissed off because Apple didn't use *their* DRM instead of Apple's own.
And all they're saying is that *if* Apple's files are DRMed, they won't be compatible with other readers (that use Adobe DRM).

It's probably a good guess that Apple will use DRM, but that article contains no evidence of it.

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (1)

Graff (532189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962932)

It's DRM'd to high hell - books, movies and apps. The only reason the music isn't is thanks to competition from the likes of Amazon.

Erm, no. It's been Steve Job's and Apple's stance for a long time that DRM is a bad thing, even before Amazon sold music. The problem is that publishers want DRM on their products and when they enter into agreements they usually insist on DRM as part of the deal. Do you see any other major player offering DRM-free movies? You can get some DRM-free e-books but it's pretty rare too.

The only reason that Amazon has DRM-free music is because of Apple. Apple got control of the online sales for the music industry so the music industry tried to create competition to Apple by selling music on sites like Amazon. The problem is that the only DRM that would work on the iPod, the most popular music device, was Apple's DRM and only Apple could create music files with Apple DRM. Amazon needed to sell DRM-free MP3 files (which the iPod can also play) and the music industry allowed them to do this. Even with this Apple was still a major player so when it came time to renew the distribution agreements the music industry was forced into making all music DRM-free.

So you can thank Apple for your DRM-free music. Let's hope that they do the same to the book, movie, and television industry!

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (5, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962976)

Erm, no. It's been Steve Job's and Apple's stance for a long time that DRM is a bad thing, even before Amazon sold music. The problem is that publishers want DRM on their products and when they enter into agreements they usually insist on DRM as part of the deal. Do you see any other major player offering DRM-free movies?

If only Steve Jobs had some influence with movie studios like Pixar, he could persuade them to make their movies available DRM-free...

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (1)

cervo (626632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963240)

So you can thank Apple for your DRM-free music. Let's hope that they do the same to the book, movie, and television industry!

Agreed. Even if the iPad device sucks, I don't care. This is my single hope that Apple takes care of. If the iPad sucked but had DRM free books I would buy it for the books. Eventually something better would come along and I could take my books and read it on that (or the next version of the iPad). Even now it seems that some other guys making tablets have way better hardware and way less locked down than an iPad.

But anyway if apple manages to crack book DRM for everyone the way it cracked music DRM that would be great. Even buyers of Kindles, Nooks, Sony Readers, or anything else would be grateful to apple :)

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (3, Insightful)

mejogid (1575619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963518)

Yup, they're *so* anti-DRM that they chose to restrict application sales on the iPhone/iPod Touch to iTunes, with mandatory DRM even for developers who don't want it and no way to distribute or install outside of their proprietary methods.

Apple were happy to go anti-DRM for a bit of geek cred once iTunes and the iPod were both already dominant and they no longer had to rely on technological lock-in. When it gives them more control they're all for it. Ars [arstechnica.com] have an article that sums up the iPad's restrictions on freedom.

Your argument that Apple succeeding with a closed DRM'd model forced open music is also counter-intuitive - their leverage over the music industry may have hastened DRM-free music, but that was at best an unintended side effect. Indeed, it's possible that without the success of iTunes the industry would never have bothered shoving DRM on us and we'd have seen a natural progression from CDs (although that may be a bit optimistic...)

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962966)

In your revisionist history, you manage to forget the part where Jobs never wanted DRM on music and went along with it initially because they didn't have enough clout to fight it. Movies are a much bigger battle -- and one that I have no idea where Jobs stands, because of his relationship with Pixar (though my suspicion is that he's bright enough to know that it's as bad as DRMed music). With books, well, Apple is the newcomer again and is probably just doing its best to get publishers to join them, when going against Amazon is perhaps even worse than going against Wal-mart (given that Amazon actually lets companies make money).

Re:Is Apple ePub DRM free? (1)

cervo (626632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963184)

Well this is the thing. If you jack up the price to that of a paperback, what incentive do I have to buy a DRMed proprietary format? However if you charge the same price as a paperback and the book is not DRMed, then I am likely to buy it just for the convenience of not filling up my book shelf....

Publishers need to learn the same lesson as the music industry about DRM. I did not see a giant drop in itunes sales when they started selling DRM free tracks. Also there is an article on slashdot about people pirating DRMed content more than DRM free content. That is what happened to me. In 2000 or so, I got my mp3s from AudioGalaxy/Napster/Kazaa/etc... When itunes came out with DRM, I still got my mp3s that way. Once iTunes and Amazon went DRM free, now I am more likely to just buy the mp3 from there rather than to avoid the hassle. Also with sharing I would typically share music that I downloaded, but I would never share music from my audio CD's.

Anyway for books, many people I know (me included) do not plan on sharing them on a filesharing network. We just want a fair deal. You give me a digital book in a portable format that I can read on any ebook reader that I want. We have no plans to share our books on a filesharing network. We just want it on our device. In reality I expect that some people would copy books for their friends like the old days though. Some type of lending feature might help prevent that. You lend the book and it is lent for 20 days. You can lend each book to one person at a time. You can still read your own book while it is lent (after all why ignore the benefits of technology to bring "lending" into the 21st century). But you cannot lend it to anyone else until the 20 days elapse. If your friend needs an extension, you can lend it to your friend again for another 20 days. Libraries can have a certain number of copies of books. Or the lending scheme can have a way of "returning" the book where the book is erased and the lending device is free to lend it to someone else.

I would almost say rather than DRM it is probably better for publishers to figure out how to embed a signature of a customer in a book. AT least that way if they are so inclined pirated books can be traced. Of course a hard disk could have been stolen/etc.. or a computer hacked, a program to translate between formats have a trojan horse to send the book to some other server, etc... But probably if most books were DRM free and in an open format there would not be a ton of motivation to crack the identification scheme unless you are Richard Stallman :)

Good. Fuck 'em. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962356)

Flame on, if you like, but this is precisely why I bought a non-Kindle device and happily read what I want from /b/torrent in any way and manner I choose. Fuck you, Amazon; fuck your DRM, fuck your WhisperNet and fuck your shitty closed formats.

Re:Good. Fuck 'em. (2, Funny)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962670)

Shame about you being so reserved with your opinions and all... hopefully, you'll get over that someday.

Kindle supports DRM-free formats just fine. (2, Insightful)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962854)

I guess they'll mod up anyone these days.

Re:Good. Fuck 'em. (4, Insightful)

The Mighty Buzzard (878441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962864)

Pretty flamish but I have to agree. Take a paperback at $5-8, remove the permanence by making it digital, restrict how/where/when it can be used, and then try to charge me two to three times what I have to pay for paperbacks? Yeah, thanks but no thanks. I'll keep buying hardcopy and if I want it in ebook form I'll pirate it until they drop their prices to around 20% of paperback price.

Re:Good. Fuck 'em. (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962918)

I [...] happily read what I want from /b/torrent in any way and manner I choose.

Free-rider. Maybe if everybody read books like you, we wouldn't have this problem of authors getting paid for writing, and if I didn't like any of the books out there, I could just take an existing bad one and "fork it" or something.

Just add monks, and the demolition of the post-feudal synthesis will be complete.

Re:Good. Fuck 'em. (2, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963234)

/b/torrent? What if i want to read something other than the lyrics of "Fresh Prince" or "Never Gonna Give You up"?

Seems to me... (0, Offtopic)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962412)

That what's actually going on here is that Macmillan isn't committing anti-trust: they're merely setting their wholesale price for e-Books at a level that Amazon doesn't like.

Who's committing anti-competitive behaviour is Amazon: illegally tying stopping sales of paper books because they don't like the price they were quoted on electronic books.

Re:Seems to me... (5, Insightful)

FroBugg (24957) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962604)

Illegally stopping sales? There is no law anywhere that says Amazon has to sell Macmillan's books. Whether it's because the prices are too high or because they just don't like the way the company smells, Amazon is perfectly within their rights to sell or not sell whatever they choose to.

Re:Seems to me... (1)

jra (5600) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962692)

As a retail reseller that may be true. But Amazon's Kindle division *is a publisher* now as well, and that may have a bearing on this issue.

Particularly if they have a contract with Macmillan.

Not doing any further work at an increased price point is fine. Pulling *works they've published to Kindles as Macmillan's agent* could be another thing entirely.

Re:Seems to me... (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962950)

I might have missed out on some of the legal shit going on around this issue but "distributing files someone's providing to us" strikes me as a far, far cry from "publisher". Macmillan would still be the publisher, Amazon would still be the distributor, the only difference is with a real book the publisher prints out a bunch of copies and then sends them to the distributor to sell and send around and with an e-book the publisher sets up some manner of file and sends just that to the distributor to be copied and sent to those who buy it. At no point do I see Amazon doing anything I'd call "publishing".

Re:Seems to me... (1)

louzerr (97449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963106)

Uh, what law requires Amazon to sell anyone's books?

Can you have a "wholesale" price eBook? I think you're kind of missing the point of "wholesale" here ... they don't need to buy and warehouse 10,000,000 eBooks, so where's the wholesale price break?

I don't think anything "illegal" is going on here. But it's the ethics of selling an item for one price to one retailer, and a higher price to another retailer. Why in the world wouldn't the retailer on the loosing side of this have the right to fight back?

This could turn out worse then the imagine (1)

peripatetic_bum (211859) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962496)

My first thought when I read that a publishing group was being delisted was how am I going to know what was delisted?

I use amazon because I feel (dont really know) that it gives me access to pretty much every book that I can buy and so if Im researching a topic or want to read about something now IM not so sure that I'll use amazon.

Yeah, I know I could use a library but I live somewhere where its not that great and I dont know how to seach for books in other way, but now that I think of it, I'll do some googling.

Meanwhile the authors suffer (2, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962512)

and no doubt sales will drop while this shenannigans plays out. Although the executives and staff will still collect their pay the authors will not get the royalties they may have been expecting, now that a large (very large?) percentage of the book-buying public no longer have easy access to their wares.

Hopefully this will cause more than a few authors to reflect on who they want to be in charge of their livelihoods: a bunch of suits playing politics with the authors prospects, or some other distributor (or collective) who has their wellbeing foremost.

A paperback is 7 bucks (5, Insightful)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962514)

No printing, distribution, warehousing, etc.
I want to pay _less_ for an ebook than a paper book, especially considering I can't easily resell an ebook.
No Kindle for me, thanks.

Ah, good, might accelerate end of eBook DRM (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962536)

I have little detail about iBooks, but I see a comment asking about DRM within the first 31 comments on the review on cnet.com [cnet.com] . The reply to that comment leads me to believe that the eBook industry is heading into a big mess of incompatible DRM formats, just what caused the music industry such problems when they unsuccessfully tried to dethrone iTunes.

One of the fallouts of that was that selling DRM-free music started to be viewed by the music industry as a a necessary evil. We can only hope that the book publishing industry will take less time to get to the same (correct) conclusion.

Re:Ah, good, might accelerate end of eBook DRM (1)

Chaos Incarnate (772793) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963476)

The ebook industry started that way, but recently has (except for Kindle, and now the iPad) standardized on ePub with Adobe's DRM. Even the Nook supports it.

iPad isn't an ebook reader (4, Informative)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962542)

I really don't understand why people keep trying to shoehorn epaper and netbooks into the same category. I wish apple luck, and I think i might get iPad if i didn't already have an apple laptop: iPad + iMac would cover more use cases than Macbook + iMac, and cost less as well*, although just a macbook + generic LCD external monitor covers a lot of those cases as well.

*presuming of course, an all-apple home.

But it's not an ebook reader, and the Kindle is not the only e-reader, nor is it the only widely-held e-reader. Sony has a number of mature offerings, and Barnes & Noble's device looks very interesting, although it can't possibly have the numbers to compete with amazon yet, it's only two months old and it's been sold out for one and a half of those months.

I think publishers would be making a mistake if they think they can play apple and amazon against each other in this case, or if they think that trying to do that worked for them in the last case (e-music)

Re:iPad isn't an ebook reader (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963072)

I really don't understand why people keep trying to shoehorn epaper and netbooks into the same category.

The fact that Apple are launching their iBooks service along with the iPad may have something to do with that. There's also a Kindle app for the iPhone, which presumably will work on the iPad.

At the moment, epaper displays are optimal for ebook readers, but virtually useless for general use (because of their glacial refresh rate) while LCD/OLED displays produce excellent colour and smooth video but are unpleasant for sustained reading and power hungry (because they emit light or need a backlight).

Long term these will inevitably converge - and by "long term" we're talking small integer numbers of years. The idea that you should need one device for reading web-based magazines (which increasingly include video and/or are designed for scrolling displays which current epaper can't hack) and another for reading novels isn't sustainable.

There's already Transflective LCDs [gizmodo.com] in the Real Soon Now category and, maybe a bit further off, fast-response, colour e-ink [gammadynamics.net] (I can't find the response time claim in that link but ISTR they were claiming it).

The only long-term future I see for dedicated ebook-only readers is if the technology can become so cheap that it would be feasible to have half a dozen on the go (one for your bedside book, a couple by your computer with documentation, a greaseproof one by the dining table) etc. A bit like they treat the PADDs on Star Trek...

Auto industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30962584)

For decades Ford would not authorize the creation of a dealership if it were to be owned by a public company. Ford feared losing too much control if one body had say 50 Ford dealers throughout the nation - the body would be able to name it's own prices, make decisions Ford wanted to make, etc. It was inevitable and eventually happened anyway. Ironically, the Ford/GM/Chrysler stores owned by large publicly traded companies were the ones that survived least scathed from the economic problems faced in 2008 and 2009. It was the small mom and pop shops whose franchises were either terminated or couldn't keep inventory and hold on long enough and closed their doors.
History repeats itself a lot, sometimes in a similar way - so Macmillan, you'd better get on the ball and let Apple and Amazon do their thing.
And Rupert Murdoch... Shame on you! You'll die a poor, broken old man with nothing but a memory of how you destroyed your empire.

Disclosure: I work in the Automotive Retailing sector.

As compared to the iTunes skirmishes (2, Insightful)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962650)

Interesting. I'm curious how this will play out relative to the iTunes defection.

I expect Apple to:
    1. outsell Kindle with iPad
    2. be stubborn about pricing (look at iTunes history)

The fact that Apple is not the first big mover makes this interesting, as it will be years (if ever) until they'll have the same market power in books as they did after a year of the iTunes Music Store.

With iTunes it was, from the consumer's perspective, a benevolent hegemony. With books the price pressure from Apple is upwards, and Amazon is holding the line. Though they're differentiated products - kindle is B&W e-ink, iPad is color backlit LCD.

From a strategy perspective, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Probably won't hurt book publishers in the same way as music labels - book sales will not degrade into chapter sales in the same way that album sales degraded into single track sales.

Re:As compared to the iTunes skirmishes (1)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962818)

I disagree with point one, but then again, I've just talked with other techy people, I have no clue what this'll do in the open market, It could go for the same target as the Wii, and get that, Or it could not. Opinion seems rather meh on it.

As for point two, Yes. I have no doubt they'll do this, they won't budge from pricing if you used a big crowbar.

But! I think they will do something else also. Expect the Kindle App to get dropped from the App store and disabled on people's iPad's and maybe even iPhones because "It replicated functions done by Apple." That, I think will really annoy people. The people who are interested in the iBook function, most likely HAVE a ebook reader on their iPhone, probably Kindle App, and if you say, "Oh! We're removing it. You have to use ours. And your books won't cross over. And they'll cost 5 bucks more." People will be screaming for your blood. This will be interesting to watch unfold.

Purchase the Dead Tree Version (2, Interesting)

n0dna (939092) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962664)

Until all of this crap blows over and the industry pulls its collective head out of its collective ass I'll continue to do it the way I have for years now...

Buy the dead tree version so the author gets paid and then download the ebook from a torrent site.

How far does this go? (2, Interesting)

Lil'wombat (233322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962770)

I wonder how far Amazon will take this? Since the retail book industry is essentially consignment sales, does Amazon have the option to return all Macmillian books in inventory as unsold? What about pre-orders for unreleased books? Now Macmillian is owned by Simon and Schuster which is a division of CBS.

Will Amazon expand their conflict to all Simon and Schuster Titles?

Maybe stop selling CBS and Viacom products as well. (DVD and CD's)?

This could get real interesting, real fast. FYI: Amazon stock closed at $125 friday, CBS at $12.93

Re:Th MusicWars-give me DRM free EPUB and i'm sold (1)

Dimble ThriceFoon (567451) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962784)

I want to archive my ebooks on my computer, i want to be able to read them via fbreader on my n900 or via Calibre on my netbook. In short i don't want DRM infested ebooks at all. I'm willing to spend a lot of money if the market will give me what i want.

MacMillan (5, Informative)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962808)

I've got to say that MacMillan has never liked the concept of e-books to begin with, has been one of the fiercest supporters of strong DRM, and have ALWAYS wanted to price their e-books way too high. MacMillan is, for those who don't know, the owners of the TOR imprint (read: Wheel of Time) as the one most likely to be known by /. readers. That's right, the same people who will price an e-book like a hardcover after the paperback is out, and who regularly charged $15 for the PROLOGUES of the wheel of time books in electronic format. Plus they almost always delay the e-book publications, which annoys me. I have never liked MacMillan, and the only reason they get away with it (from me) is because while I don't like their company's policies on digital media, they actually do have pretty high quality editors and authors.
And while they could probably care less at Amazon de-listing their kindle books, if they've delisted the dead tree books, that's a real threat. And they deserve it, probably. That said, this is a game of chicken. Amazon can't afford to de-list their dead-tree for very long, and MacMillan can't afford to have them de-listed for very long. Who will blink first?
Or it could just be a glitch, there's no official reasons posted and TFA even admits they're not sure of the link, here. Amazon has had some wierd glitches before.
In another note, I do a lot of e-book reading on both my Kindle and my Laptop and other devices, and if what I want to do is 'sit and read a book' for several hours, the kindle wins every time.

But I thought... (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962846)

...competition was supposed to lower prices, not raise them?

Re:But I thought... (1)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963022)

Not when the Reality Distortion Field is in effect. That's why a computer will go up in price if it's branded with that A-name. You're paying a premium because what you're actually purchasing is a small portion of Steve's Coolness Factor, guaranteed to make a room full of people believe the crap you're saying unquestionably.

Somewhere to run? (1)

schnablebg (678930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962880)

The difference in this fight is that Macmillan is one of the publishers signed to deliver books for Apple's iBooks store. They have somewhere to run. And credibly.

You mean to a marketplace that doesn't exist yet and a device that is 60 days out with unproven market traction? Doesn't sound very credible for me; two months of lost sales from your biggest retailer is a pretty big deal for all companies.

My big question is... (1)

Gerocrack (979018) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962906)

are they going to lock out the Kindle iPhone application from running on the iPad?

Re:My big question is... (2, Insightful)

Tom90deg (1190691) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962948)

Yes. I would be dumbstruck if they didn't. The ONLY reason they would leave it, is if every book on the Kindle app was the exact same price as the ones on the iBook, and even then, they'd only do it to not piss off the people who got books from Amazon, heh, and even then, I doubt they'd keep it for long.

Macmillan already lost at least 1 customer (3, Interesting)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#30962936)

My book club picked a book from Tor, which seems to be a Macmillan subdivision. I had sent the preview to my Kindle, and went to buy it yesterday. It was no longer available, so after thinking "WTF?" for a while, I bought a used paperback copy instead.

Way to go, Macmillan!

Since Amazon say 60% of their book sales are Kindle, I imagine Macmillan are going to be hurting.

Re:Macmillan already lost at least 1 customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30963438)

Amazon never said 60% of their book sales are Kindle editions.

Will the real issue please stand up? (1)

louzerr (97449) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963062)

From the replies, it looks like we're looking at two separate issues -

  - Kindle vs. iPhone / iPod / iPon / iWhatever

        and

  - availability of products

On the first issue, the iPawn (let's just call all the products by that name) is better than the Kindle, hands down; but both devices ultimately suck for reading. IMHO, digital books can be a good supplement to printed material, but have yet to successfully replace printed material (especially for technical books).

The second issue is honestly more important to me. While it's not exactly new (Best Buy, Wal*mart and I'm sure many others demand a lower price from the manufacturer), one critical difference here is you'd be getting the EXACT same product, but the manufacturer would have a preferred retailer, and try their best to force (by price) potential customers to use that retailer over any other. Serves them right if Amazon dumps them!!!

These exclusive agreements with distributors go directly against the concept of free market. Amazon has every right to fight back, and any consumer who is at all concerned with his rights to choose what they buy and where they shop should be telling MacMillan goodbye at this point.

there was just a story (1)

memnock (466995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963140)

on /. where some of the comments pointed out how people are being caged with Apple's plan to only allow iStore apps on their products. with the results of this particular fracas, it seems that the cage is also getting a strict perimeter established around it.

whose sh*t? (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963224)

It feels like a repeat of the same s*** Universal Music, and later, NBC Universal pulled with iTunes,

Seems to me Apple is pulling the s*** with iTunes, resulting in price hikes, more DRM, and even less availability.

Anyway, maybe we'll get lucky and Amazon and Apple destroy each other.

Kudos to Amazon (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963226)

As an avid Kindle reader, I wish Amazon would take more stands like this to lower the prices of their ebooks. I already don't buy over-priced titles because the publishers just don't get it: I don't have to read their stinking books. There are millions of other books for me to read. I'll die wishing I'd read a few more.

What these publishers don't seem to understand is that my walking into a Barnes & Noble with nothing but a credit card and they supply me with the reader (paper) is vastly different from my going out and spending hundreds of dollars on a reader and then purchasing the content at practically zero distribution cost to them and the retailer. When I see that a paperback is $5.99 at the store and $5.99 on my Kindle, I hesitate to buy it because I know that there is some cost in paper, printing, binding, storing, shipping, retailing, and selling that paper. But the cost of digital distribution is practically zero, so that $5.99 is nearly pure profit. If they just reduced the price to reflect the reduced costs to distribute the content and make the same profit as previously, I'd be quite happy.

The main reason I purchased the Kindle is because I do a lot of traveling, so I can carry much of my library with me and read whatever I'm in the mood to read without carrying a bag full of books and being in the mood to read the one I left at home on that trip, plus I can buy one that I would never have found in the airport bookstore. This is why something like the iPad will never work for me. I also don't like reading while staring at light bulbs, even dim ones called LCD's. So if the publishers think that Apple is going to be their savior, they're high on crack. What I've said all along is that most people who actually read books will not be interested in bulky, low battery life dim light bulbs. But that doesn't mean the iPad won't sell well, which in turn does not mean the iPad will sell a lot of books.

If Apple thinks the winning strategy to selling books is to offer them at a higher price on a higher priced device, I think they're high on crack. So far I honestly haven't explored P2P options for getting ebooks, but if the publishers think that if I really want this book that I'm not going to pursue the P2P option when their book is not available for my reader, then they're high on crack, too.

Can someone explain to me why people buy this crap (2, Interesting)

uassholes (1179143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963242)

What's wrong with real books?

Used bookstores are great. Can you re-sell your used "eBook"? Can you buy used "eBooks".

This consumer toy horseshit is a way to funnel money from you to them.

Content will be more tightly controlled and the whole thing only means higher prices to read anything.

People are stupid if they fall for this bullshit.

I think amazon will win this one. (2, Informative)

dhickman (958529) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963450)

The kindle was designed for book junkies, and for people who like to read newspapers/periodicals. Does it have limitations, yes, but it does do its key functions well, deliver text content anywhere there is a cell signal with a very long battery life.

There are several key markets for books.

Premium customers - new books in hardback
technical customers - technical books.
children books
paperback customers
bargain hunters
periodicals -

The kindle is aimed at the premium, paperback, periodical, and bargain hunters.

Amazon has realized that only their premium customers will even pay for the 9.99 price for new books. If I pay that kind of price for a book, I want the dead tree trophied on my book shelf with the thousands of other dead trees in my house, so I can re read them later in life.

Personally I use my kindle for disposable media, like news papers ( the oklahoman and St. Louis Post dispatch) and magazines ( reason, mit tech review and reader digest.) All those combined equals a little over $20 a month, that before the kindle, I never would subscribe to.

When I am in the mood I usualy do the following to get free and cheap books, usually classics.

1. Every day or so amazon will offer a free book on the kindle, to lure you into a series ( it works, i usually end up buying the free book and the others in paper form)

2. type "-domain" in the kindle search bar. It will return all of the current free and cheap books. Usually around 20,000 or so.

3. Go to http://www.feedbooks.com/kindleguide [feedbooks.com] with the browser on the kindle. That will download a "book" that will allow you access to most of the guttenberg and other free book repositories on the intertubes.

Due to the ease of free content, amazon has been posting low cost collections of authors for usually a $1.00 that has excellent indexing and tables of contents.

I think the ipad will have its market but until they can make a device that I only have to charge once a week is useable any time during that period to allow me to read ( usually 2-3 hours a day) in addition to all of it computer usage, I will stick with my netbook and kindle in my backpack.


dhh

Amazon stopped selling ALL Macmillan? Even print? (1)

Spittoon (64395) | more than 4 years ago | (#30963530)

As far as I can tell, Apple's iBooks store is electronic only. So the claim, regarding Macmillan, that "They have somewhere to run. And credibly." is not true.

Where is Macmillan going to make up the revenue from sales of print books that they'll forfeit by not being on the Amazon store? Unless the third-party sellers are expected to make up the difference, in which case Amazon's move hasn't accomplished anything punitive at all and is an empty gesture.

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