Round up #100: Cloud Player’s big update, Amiciville
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
ABA and B&N file to be friends of the court
Barnes & Noble (B&N) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA) have filed a motion to “friends of the court” (amici curiae) in the DoJ’s (Department of Justice’s) settlement in the Agency Model action.
What does that mean?
The issue is between the Department of Justice, five publishers, and Apple. Legally, the ABA and B&N aren’t involved. However, they think that they can help the judge in making a decision, by providing relevant data and opinion.
You know when someone says, “Hey, buddy, can I give you some friendly advice?” Somehow, the next thing that follows is never, “You’re doing a swell job! My advice is that you don’t change a thing.”
Of course, being a friend does have benefits…so to speak. They would get to be in the loop on things, and have a voice.
they make their point.
“…elimination of the current pricing and distribution method for e-books, known as the agency model, will injure innocent third parties, including ABA member bookstores, Barnes & Noble, authors, and non-defendant publishers; hurt competition in an emerging industry; and ultimately harm consumers. “
The DoJ has already made it pretty clear that they aren’t there to protect the retailers, they are there (in this case), to protect the customers. Even if the ABA and B&N are granted to leave, I don’t think it’s going to make much difference.
The DoJ says that the Agency publishers and Apple colluded to raise e-book prices, and did. If they did something illegal, the DoJ can’t look at “future evil” which might possibly result. In other words…
Let’s say that B&N and the ABA’s worst case scenario happens. The Agency Model goes away. Amazon lowers prices so much, no one else can compete. All other e-book sellers go out of business. Brick and mortars get crushed in the process. Then, Amazon is the only bookseller in the world, and they raise prices to a gazillion dollars a book…mwah hah hah! Then, nobody can afford to read any more, and we all become illiterate, and aliens come down and challenge us to a Scrabble game, and if we win, they give us endless free energy, and if we lose, they eat us, and since we can’t read, we can’t play Scrabble…and we all become extraterrestrial entrees.
Even if that might be true, the DoJ can’t act on Amazon’s crime in that scenario before it happens…this isn’t Minority Report.
B&N nicely provided the filing on line:
I think they may be moving pretty quickly on this, since David N. Wynn declares in the document, and I quote: “I am an partner…”
This could mean that we see Agency Model pricing for the settling publishers go away before the end of the year, but I’m not going to try to put a timetable on it…the microwave of justice cooks at conventional oven speeds.
Cloud Player gets a major update
Amazon isn’t messing around:
They’ve revolutionized their Amazon Cloud Player.
This definitely affects Kindle Fire, but if they could analogize it to e-books, it would make things really interesting.
They cite three big updates:
- It sounds like they are automatically going to add previously purchased Amazon MP3s to your free Cloud storage. They were doing that with newly purchased stuff, but if they can go back and get all your old purchases for you automatically, great
- They are going to add more devices (including Roku…yay!) and I think access will get easier
- Here’s the big one, though. Your Cloud Player is going to scan your iTunes and Windows Media libraries. It will look for matches to those songs that you bought somewhere (even ripped from CDs), and if Amazon has a match to it, that gets loaded into Cloud player. Oh, and they are upgrading the quality, too (to 256 kbps)
You see, Amazon worked out a deal with the rightsholders. Even if you bought it somewhere else, Amazon can make it available to you.
The free tier of the Cloud Player will let you store 250 non-Amazon purchased MP3s. The premium version ($24.99 a year) lets you store 250,000 (!) non-Amazon purchased MP3s.
Wouldn’t it be interesting if they could do this with e-books? So that, even if you bought them from Barnes & Noble, you could have them in your Kindle library?
I’m sure they wouldn’t have any trouble convincing the publishers to go along with that…they are getting along so well with them already. Just kidding…but hey, a blogger can dream, right?
Update: one of my readers, Emily, pointed out a problem with the update for people who already had 250 non-Amazon songs in the cloud. If they want them (and their playlists) to continue to work with the Cloud player, they are given a choice (according to her): delete some songs, or get a free month of premium and then pay the $24.99 a year. I was curious as to how many people that is affecting, so…
Joe Wikert on used e-books
Once again, Joe Wikert and I come from very different places. I do think Wikert is a smart person, and there is an interesting idea in here…but we just think about things differently.
For example, there is this from the post:
“That’s yet another reason why consumers want low ebook prices. They’re lacking some of the basic features of a print book so of course they should be lower-priced.”
Yes, e-books lack some things that p-books have…like mildew, yellowing, and non-adjustable text sizes. Just kidding. The thing is that each of the formats have some advantages and disadvantages. Why don’t people think paperbooks have to replicate everything e-books have to make it fair? If e-books have to be resellable, why don’t p-books have to be automatically searchable?
What if the publishers said, “You can resell an e-book…but only one person can read it at a time”?
Right now, you can have a hundred or more people on your account, and all read the same book for one purchase price. You can’t usually do it at all at the same time, but still.
One last thing before I let you go read the article:
“In the print world we’d pass those [books] along to friends, resell them or donate them to the local library.”
I’m sure like a lot of other people, I didn’t do any of those things….I kept my books. That’s why I have something like ten thousand paperbooks on shelves in my home, and a dedicated floor to ceiling library. If you typically got rid of your p-books after you read them, that’s a plus for that format. If you didn’t, but just wanted to share books with friends and family (especially ones that don’t live with you), that’s a plus for e-books.
Feel free to comment on any of these…
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.