Macmillian vs. Amazon…Ramble


The New York Times let us know publishing giant Macmillian had it’s content pulled from the Amazon Kindle store. Why? Money of course. Already the iPad tablet has been stirring up changes in the marketplace and it won’t even hit shelves for months. In case you haven’t heard the jokes, this one from MadTV is my favorite:

Popular literary agent, author, blogger and all-around smart guy, Nathan Bransford explains the “Kindle Missle Crisis” is about Amazon selling e-books at $9.99 and Macmillian wanting to have pricing up to $14.99. For this, the publisher is willing to take LESS!!! of a prophet so their content doesn’t get stuck at $9.99.

Amazon temporarily pulled Macmillian content down. I’ve been at several companies where we did this– all to the detriment of the consumer. Do you really go searching for your favorite band and when you don’t find the video you think “oh I wonder if this website is having a war with the record label over payment?” No, you say too bad I’m heading over to YouTube or downloading illegally somewhere. And you probably don’t go back to the site that didn’t have the content so even if it goes back 6 months later, c’est la vie, you’ve moved on to something that does work for you all the time.

Amazon is will to take a loss on e-books so it can sell Kindles. That’s what Apple did with music and the iPod. They are not concerned about the music as much as those nice ads would make you think, they want to sell devices. A $2.50 price loss on books to sell a $259 Kindle is the price of business.

As for the iPad (seriously you didn’t have one woman on your branding team? Not 1???) the price tag of $499 is grotesque. You can buy yourself a Dell netbook for less than that. If you are going to go that route for something with 8 gigs why not just upgrade to a laptop? As an iPhone user, just because I can use my fingers to slide something isn’t going to make me shell out a couple hundred more. I’m also annoyed at Apple for announcing this a month after Christmas when consumers are falling in love with their new Kindles and Nooks, etc. Apple’s iPad takes a little bit of the shine from that.

I must concede even though I’m a bit miffed at Apple for their timing, in the end I think having several products out there for e-books is very exciting. It means mainstream consumers are seeing a need for this and excited to READ! Imagine that. Recently many of my male friends have said they don’t read books and prefer short form magazines or comic books (yes that man is European to boot and over 40!) Although I explained you can buy that content on the Kindle already (hello Global WiFi you rock) it was my passionately speaking about books that lead one of my male friends to send me a Kindle. I’m more giddy about my Kindle than I am about any of the fellows I went on dates with last year.

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