Archive for the ‘Traditional Publishers’ Category

Round up #227: dynamic pricing, workaround for connection issue

December 12, 2013

Round up #227: dynamic pricing, workaround for connection issue

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

A partial workaround for the connection instability on the Kindle Fire HDX

Big props to ✿ Jingle-bella ✿, another Kindle Forum Pro who came through with an idea that’s really helping with the problems I’ve been having with my Kindle Fire HDX (at Amazon…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). Since the recent update, it hasn’t been staying connected to wi-fi networks…I have had to toggle the Airplane Mode on and off frequently to connect to things. That’s been in more than one browser (I use Maxthon), and in apps without a visible browser (like Fandango).

✿ Jingle-bella ✿ intelligently suggested limiting the variables by turning Airplane Mode off, and then turning wi-fi on.

What that does is turn off the rest of the wireless connections…my intuition here is that the LBS (Location Based Services) might perhaps have been interfering. It’s even possible that when I’ve lost connection, it’s been when LBS has been trying to check-in.

I don’t have a 4G model, by the way.

I tried it this morning:

Swipe down from the top – Wireless – Airplane Mode on – tap Wi-Fi (just below Airplane Mode) and turn Wi-Fi on

I would guess I was on for at least an hour without having to toggle! I did toggle the wi-fi once so far today, although the Fire had been sitting idle for a while when I did that.

Thanks again to ✿ Jingle-bella ✿ for the suggestion!

I’m hoping we get a more robust solution with an update for the Kindle Fires which has been announced in “the coming weeks”.

For those of you having freezing issues, I’d be curious to hear if that helps you as well.

Save $50 on an HDX (up to 3 of them…possible savings of $150) with an Amazon.com Rewards Visa

Here’s a great deal!

You need to have that special credit card, and it says this will go “while supplies last”. As we saw with the Keurig special yesterday, that might not be much time! =:o

It’s been a bit bizarre to see people’s vitriol over not getting that deal…even reportedly to the extent of writing a bunch of 1-star reviews on the product.

I tried to get one, watched the countdown clock, and still didn’t.

I look at it like buying a lottery ticket…the odds are very against you, but it’s fun if you win! ;) They announced ahead of time that there were 5,000 of these. Let’s say, oh, a million people tried to get one…your odds would be one in 200 (half a percent).

I’m happy for the people who got one! I’ll probably try again for others.

I’m sure people didn’t think about the fact that leaving 1-star reviews might actually reduce the number of people who buy one (many people just look at the average)…are they really willing to increase the chances that people will lose their jobs, because they didn’t get an opportunity to save some money? I’m sure most folks don’t go through that thought process, but that’s a possible result of 1-starring a product.

However, there is one big difference between this and the lottery…you have to pay for a lottery ticket. ;) You don’t have to pay anything for trying this, although you do have to have Special Offers on your Fire.

I recommend that you sign up for the text alerts, if you want to do this. You can do that at

Limited Time Special Offers only on Kindle Fire
Limited Time Special Offers only on Kindle Fire at AmazonSmile

P-books aren’t perfect, either

Whenever something is introduced, there is a tendency to point out all of its flaws, and ignore the flaws of the current technology or system.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

I was an actor, and one tradition is that we got a night on the set before the show opens. We walk around and point out all the potential dangers, typically in a joking way.

That might just seem silly, but it’s actually very important.

You see, the person in charge of the sets is there listening (not saying anything, by the way).

They can then assess those comments, and very often, they end up fixing something that could have been a real risk.

In the case of e-books compared to p-books (paperbooks), some people pointed out possible eye issues on the former (although those aren’t as likely on a non-backlit screen…you read an older style Kindle the same way you read a paperbook).

We also have had a lot of people say that they like the “smell” of a p-book, or the feel of it. My Significant Other had a great response once. Somebody said (somewhat snidely) on seeing my SO with a Kindle (several years ago), “I like the feel of a book in my hand.” My SO said, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” ;)

Well, many people have actual physical issues with p-books. Allergies are a common one (I think it has to do with dust mites, in some cases, as I recall).

Here is a

Daily News article

about a student who had to stop going to university because of an allergy to dusty books (and other allergen issues).

I do love old books, but for people who have complained about the effects they have on them, here is some evidence to show others…

HarperCollins CEO says that publishing is healthy

In this

Variety article by Ted Johnson

HarperCollins CEO (gee, wasn’t that a song by by Jeannie C. Riley ((at AmazonSmile))? ;) ), Brian Murray, has some very interesting and positive things to say about the publishing industry.

Drawing a parallel between how digital music affected the studios and how e-books affect publishing isn’t entirely wise, as Murray notes. One of the things I’ve said about that before is the consumption of the two are very different. Most people will listen to a song multiple times, and read a book once, for example (not that there aren’t many re-readers out there).

I think this might stand out to a lot of people:

“The company, a unit of the newly spun off News Corp., is testing what he called “dynamic pricing,” where prices of ebooks can be changed “daily” to increase revenues and royalties for authors, as opposed to the print side, where prices are set on the book itself.”

That’s another thing I’ve noted in the past. When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore (which was admittedly some time ago), we had to have “sticker guns” to put new prices on books…and it was labor intensive. If you could vary prices easily, you could take advantage of current events (like a hot pop culture movie) to raise or lower to maximize your revenue.

What does that mean for you as a Kindleer?

I’ve got two pieces of advice.

First, to quote (from memory) Whitley Strieber, “Learn to live at a high level of uncertainty.” ;) In other words, if you can not know for sure what the price will be from one minute to the next, you have to figure out how to accept that.

Here’s the key to that: buy a book at a price that you think is fair.

Then, if it goes up or down later, you already know you got a fair price, right? Sure, I know people get jealous when other people get a lower price, but if you know you made a well-reasoned purchase in the first place, you can be satisfied with yours and happy about theirs. Easy, right? ;)

Second, take advantage of price notification services. Those are no doubt going to have to become more sophisticated…right now, they probably aren’t price checking quickly enough to notify you in time of “dynamic pricing” changes.

I recommend

eReaderIQ

the most valuable resource on the web for Kindle users.

You can give them the information on books you want to track, and they’ll send you a free e-mail (the whole service is free), when it drops an amount you specify.

They have a lot of other good resources, but that one in particular may help as prices start to roller coaster more…wheeeee! ;)

Falling behind the Norwegians…

“Magnus, you are the Head Librarian here at the National Library of Norway…which books should we digitize?”

“All of them!”

That’s right…according to this

The Verge article by Adrianne Jeffries

the National Library of Norway is working on digitizing all of the books in its collection, and making them available online to anyone with a Norwegian IP (Internet Protocol) address…for free!

They are making deals with publishers to make that happen.

Yes, it will take a while…they are thinking decades (but improvements in technology could shorten that).

Probably not going to happen in the USA, although there are more things becoming available.

I’m still looking for a magical book machine to come on the market: put a p-book in there, and it automatically digitizes the book with no action required from you and no damage to the book.

No luck so far. :)

I have digitized public domain books, and it’s a lot of work. This one caught my eye:

The reviews are generally good. It seems to have some smart features: apparently, it can tell when a new page is in place, detecting perhaps the motion of moving the page. That would make it a lot easier than having to get the book in place, and then pushing a button…I know that doesn’t sound like much effort (“Get over it, George Jetson”), but the issue is that you are sometimes carefully holding the book so it becomes a bit of a juggling act to push that button and keep the book from moving at all (which would mess up the scan).

At $268.90 at time of writing, it isn’t outrageously priced…

What do you think? Is traditional publishing in good shape? Are you surprised at how many ways there have been to get discounts on Kindle hardware this holiday season? Are you able to feel happy for other people when they get a deal you don’t?  Do you have any negative physical reactions to p-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #221: PODBAM!, customizable covers

November 14, 2013

Round up #221: PODBAM!, customizable covers

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Now you can judge a Kindle by its cover

In this

press release

Amazon announces a new ability to customize your Kindle cover. You can upload a picture, and get it printed on an Origami cover (or some other options).

Well, I should say, “…a new to Amazon ability”. It’s been possible to have custom covers/sleeves made at third party sites for some time (I had one years ago that my adult kid had done for me), and these are being done by those other companies from what I’ve seen, and being sold through Amazon. I’ve seen ones both from CafePress and DecalGirl.

It’s pretty simple.

You go to

www.amazon.com/kindlecreateyourown

or, if you want to support a non-profit while shopping*, to

smile.amazon.com/kindlecreateyourown

You pick your device (the HDXs, the new HD, the Paperwhite ((both generations use the same cover)), the Touch), the underlying color of the cover (you may be covering only one side), and the type of cover (mostly Origami now, Marware coming in the future, from what I saw).

You pick from existing library images, or upload your own…and that’s about it.

The cost?

The same as without the personalization!

Why not do this? Here’s a great idea for a gift: buy the cover through AmazonSmile, support your gift recipient’s favorite non-profit (you can switch to it just for that one purchase), and upload an image that says something like, “I support XYZ”. The recipient gets a nice cover, gets to make a statement, and Amazon donates to that non-profit (for a $50 cover, they get twenty-five cents).

I just have one problem with this so far, and I asked Amazon about it when they sent me the press release.

The release says,

“… a library of hundreds of images, logos, designs and patterns—including popular comic, movie and television show graphics from Peanuts, National Geographic, Breaking Bad, Star Trek, and more.”

I haven’t found any of those brand name image options, and I’ve checked quite a few of the choices.

For some people, of course, there will be an irony here: Amazon doesn’t generally let us change the sleep pictures/screensavers/wallpaper on our devices. :) That’s different, and would be complicated for people who have Special Offers on their devices, but this is a nice option.

Buy a Kindle Fire HD, get a $15 gift card today only

If you buy a

Kindle Fire HD 7″

Kindle Fire HD 7″ and support a non-profit through AmazonSmile

today (Thursday, November 14) only, you get a $15 Amazon gift card for free! Do make sure you see that banner on the page before you click…this certainly might not apply in your country (I know I have readers around the world).

It applies to any of the configurations of this model, so you could get a Kindle Fire with the new Mojito operating system for $124, effectively.

By the way, I’ve also seen a story today that you could get $40 off, but when I’ve tested that links, that doesn’t seem to be working. It might be for only certain people, or it may have been withdrawn.

BAM! goes POD

This one will particularly appeal to my reader, Roger Knights, who has advocated for the idea of Print-On-Demand (POD) in bookstores…we’ve had some lively discussions about that.

Well, Books-A-Million, now the second largest bookstore chain in the USA, has just announced in this

press release

that they are going to start installing the Espresso Book Machines in their stores (two at this time, one in Maine and one in Alabama).

What does that mean?

A customer can select a book from about seven million titles, and a machine prints the book for them right then.

One concern in the past has been the selection of books, but it looks like that has been solved. They say,

“These titles are available through partnerships with Google, Lightning Source, Harper Collins, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan, McGraw Hill, and others, and includes content from publishers like Random House, W.W. Norton, and Simon & Schuster.”

That probably won’t mean every book from those publishers, of course, but it might be a great way to do the backlist.

How long does it take?

It happens “within minutes”, and produces a bookstore quality paperback.

How much does it cost?

Hmm…it says they are priced according to length, but I’m not seeing what the prices would actually be.

Still, this is an exciting option for people who still want p-books. I was really expecting us to see them in other kinds of stores, retailers of more general interest (is that like Rodents of Unusual Size?).

Score one for Roger! ;)

How much is that Penguin in the galley?

You know how Amazon recently introduced Kindle First (Kindle First and support a non-profit), where eligible Prime members can get an Amazon published book before it is released at no additional cost?

Penguin has something similar.

First to Read

You can sign up (through Facebook, if you want, but you can do it without that), and then request upcoming books (just like Kindle First, from a very specific short list)…for free.

Although, I have to say, it’s a bit weird and complicated.

I signed up for it today, and it kept kicking me out (I had to switch to Chrome from Maxthon).

There was a particular book I wanted to get…and it didn’t show up in all the places I could see choices.

There are appear to be a limited number of “copies” available, and there seems to be some sort of lottery for who gets them.

You get points, and you might be able to spend them to guarantee that you get a copy…but none of that was spelled out easily for me.

Overall, I’m happy that a publisher is trying this…but it really shows you what Amazon has figured out about making things simple!

Yes, we pay $79 a year for Prime…but in terms of Kindle First, getting a book is super easy.

This “First to Read” was a bit complicated and frustrating, certainly by comparison.

Still, you know…free books. ;)

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. I recently polled my readers about my linking to AmazonSmile, and while more than two-thirds of the respondents said they would like it or didn’t mind (and about 15% didn’t know), there were enough people who wouldn’t like it that I’m not going to just jump into it and do it for everything. I’m going to try doing both links in this post, and see how hard and/or confusing that is for people. You can let me know how you feel about having both links by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #215: So long, Sony, and tradpubs won’t guarantee print?

October 28, 2013

Round up #215: So long, Sony, and tradpubs won’t guarantee print?

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later. 

Oh…your question isn’t about Adobe Flash

A poster, with a likely intent to be funny and an apparently fictitious name, asked an interesting question in this

Amazon Kindle Forum thread

While the post used an arguably offensive reference (in which you refer to an adult as a child, in order to diminish their status), it posits this significant question:

What happens if someone behaves inappropriately with a Mayday rep? Specially, “flashes” that person?

I do think that Amazon opened the door to this sort of speculation a bit through the nature of the commercials. It’s hard not to describe the caller’s action as flirtatious (although the tech rep behaves professionally).

The first answer to the question is that, while you can see the tech rep, they can’t see you (by default). I’m sure many calls will be made with the caller in a state of dishabille which wouldn’t happen at your local Genius Bar. ;) It will be fine to call Mayday while you are in the bathtub, for example, which may happen.

However, there are a lot of ways someone could behave inappropriately, even perhaps criminally…I’m hoping Amazon has made some preparations for this (both procedurally and in training for the Mayday reps).

One issue is that the Mayday rep can see what is on your screen. Someone could call (arguably legitimately) because their streaming porn has frozen on the screen. In that case, the tech rep would see the pornographic images. I don’t think the customer would be in trouble in that case, but Amazon hypothetically could be if that risk is not explained to the reps.

More troublesome would be the customer using the built-in camera to show video of themselves while the Mayday rep was on the screen. If that video consisted of “lewd and lascivious” behavior, which could be combined with threats, there could be an issue.

In that case, I would imagine that the customer could be criminally liable (and the call might be recorded…customers are warned about that).

Even if there wasn’t legal action taken, Amazon could, hypothetically, drop that person as a customer. That is not something that they do lightly, but it is something they have reportedly done in the past. One of the things that would happen, in that case, is that you would not have access to content stored in your Amazon archives/Cloud.

Again, my hope here is that Amazon has provided training for the reps in how to react in those situations, and has protocols already in place for what the company will do. If they don’t have that, they are opening themselves up for employee legal action.

Things in business are never as simple as they might seem at first, but it is possible to consider the ramifications of your actions and prepare for them.

Four…three…two…one…Matchbook!

The countdown to the launch of

Kindle Matchbook

Kindle Matchbook continues, with quite a few Kindle Forum posts asking when it is going to happen. That indicates significant interest.

Well, “countdown” isn’t accurate, because you can’t have a countdown without knowing where the end point is. ;)

Amazon has said that the program, which allows the discounted purchase of some e-books when you have purchased the p-book (paperbook) from Amazon in the past, will launch “in October”.

Counting today, there are four days left.

It could happen any time (I have it open in a browser tab, and keep refreshing). Tuesday is possible: that’s a big day for announcements and releases in publishing.

On the other hand, they could definitely do a “soft launch”, not really making a big announcement right away. This might place some stresses on Amazon’s systems, depending on how many people take how much advantage of it right away. It might be better if it happened in dribs and drabs first, so they can almost pilot it and see how it works. It wouldn’t surprise me if people get e-mails giving them access, and that those are staged, prior to a full launch (I would expect the latter to be before November 1st, though).

The other thing is that it is to Amazon’s advantage to have a lot of well-known books in there initially, and at the best possible prices, to get the most publicity out of it. They may be negotiating right up to the last minute.

As I said before, whether a book is in the program or not is really up to Amazon, not the publisher. Amazon may be trying to get the publishers to agree to accept less money for the books in exchange for them being in the program, and that may take some real arguing.

We’ll see it before November 1st, unless something really goes wrong…but there are reasons you could see it today in an e-mail, or that no one would see it before Halloween.

Speaking of Halloween…

Amazon has a lot going on for one of my favorite holidays. :) There are temporary categories which appear, and this is one of them:

Children’s Halloween Books

There are many Kindle editions listed there, although they aren’t necessarily on sale.

For that matter, they have a whole

Halloween Shop

sponsored by Hershey’s.

Isn’t it interesting that Amazon has a store section “sponsored” by another business? That certainly doesn’t mean that only Hershey’s products are available in it (there are movies, decor, music, and more…yes, including candy, but not just Hershey’s candy…although the latter does have a 30% discount deal, and yes, you can get it by Halloween). Hershey’s is paying Amazon money to be mentioned on their site…even though it may drive business to competitors. Oh, and I do like that you can select “vegetarian” as a filter. :)

Publishers Weekly: “For Major Pubs, Will Print No Longer Be the Norm?”

This is an interesting

Publishers Weekly article by Rachel Deahl

The basic premise of the article is that traditional publishers may no longer guarantee a print edition when a book is signed. The publisher will make that determination.

While they weren’t able to really back it up with any proof that it is happening, it appeared to be a concern of agents.

I can certainly understand publishers wanting that option. These deals can be made some time in advance of the actual publication…and conditions could change enough so that a print edition wouldn’t make sense, when an e-book still would.

Tradpubs’ (traditional publishers’) real power area is still p-books, though: that’s one area where they have distribution and promotion advantages over independents. They have to really regauge to show those same sorts of advantages for e-books. That means, they’ll have to show caution in this, that they don’t let an individual deal overpower the long term goals.

“DISCONTINUED: CONTACT US FOR OTHER OPTIONS”

Sony was ahead of Amazon in getting into the EBR (E-Book Reader) market in the USA…and it appears that they have now abandoned it.

Following a heads-up from

MobileRead

I went to the Sony site. I used a link which used to take me to their EBRs, but it just took me to the first page.

Searching for “e-book”, I only found a gift card for their e-book store, which does still exist at

https://ebookstore.sony.com/

I decided to search for “reader”, and that’s when I found the listings.

All of the EBRs had the language I used for the headline here…they said that they were discontinued (this would be for the USA).

They aren’t the first EBR manufacturer to get out of the market, but they used to be one of the big players (even though they never seemed to me to put much effort behind it).

People liked the product, but you did seem to pay the “Sony tax” for the name (in other words, they were priced higher).

Guess I’ll be pulling the link from the ILMK blogsite to Sony EBRs…

What do you think? Will Amazon see complaints of “hostile working environments” from Mayday reps? Do you consider referring to an adult with a term used for a child offensive, or okay, or does it depend? Did/do you own a Sony EBR? Are you still going to order things online for Halloween? How much are you looking forward to Kindle Matchbook? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Agency Model ends for Random House, Penguin: new discounts

September 1, 2013

Agency Model ends for Random House, Penguin: new discounts

Earlier today, I gave you a heads-up that something was happening, when some of the New York Times bestseller hardback fiction equivalents were unavailable in the USA Kindle store. I noticed they were from Random House (including its imprints), and speculated that it had to do with the end of the Agency Model for that publisher.

Well, that was it!

It no longer says, “This price was set by the publisher.” for Random House or Penguin (they merged recently).

Penguin was the last of five publishers to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice in a legal action against them (and Apple) for price-fixing, utilizing the Agency Model.

That is now over for e-books in the USA.

The Agency Model could return in a couple of years, but the situation would be different.

The key thing is that Amazon (and other retailers) can now discount e-books from Penguin and Random House again…and we’ve started seeing those already.

This will allow for price wars for the holiday season..yay!

We should also stop seeing e-books priced higher than the p-books (paperbooks) as much…it will still happen sometimes. A few reasons it happens that are unaffected by this:

  • The paperback price is a pre-order, and the e-book price is still based on the hardback
  • The p-book is either used, a bargain copy, or not coming from Amazon
  • Someone is looking at two different territories when doing the comparison (the USA and France, for example)

There are many imprints (typically, a part of the company that specializes in a particular sort of book, like mysteries or science fiction, and that has a different name) for Random House and Penguin, which makes a comprehensive search complicated. Here are a couple of links for their books in the USA (outside the USA will not be directly affected by this change) Kindle store, and then I’ll link to some books that recently dropped.

Penguin books in the Kindle store
Random House books in the Kindle store

Note that the price-changing won’t happen on every title, and it make take a few days for them to process it all. Amazon now gets to decide the consumer prices again, and there is a lot involved in that (as a former bookstore manager, it surprised me that the publishers wanted to set the consumer prices, which the Agency Model enabled them to do…it wasn’t their area of expertise).

Here are a few titles I noticed. I got these by going to the most useful site for Kindle owners on the internet:

eReaderIQ

Among their many free and excellent services is tracking price drops for you. You can list books, and they’ll send you a free e-mail when it drops an amount you specify. You should go check those lists, your wishlists, and any other way you are tracking books to see what has gone down. They list the most recent drops…that’s what I checked.

I specifically chcecked price drops in the past 24 hours, and went down at least a dollar.

As usual, I won’t knowingly link to books which block text-to-speech access.

There are, of course, many, many more.

By the way, I’m going to try some new code here…it’s supposed to let you see a preview of the book cover when you hover over it (that probably will work in a browser, maybe on a Fire, but probably not on a non-Fire Kindle. I’d appreciate feedback on it…I don’t want to cause anybody any problems with it, and I hope it helps. I just tested it on this computer (which I have borrowed), and it didn’t seem to do or hurt anything. :)

Enjoy the discounts!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Something’s up…some Random House books not in Kindle store

September 1, 2013

Something’s up…some Random House books not in Kindle store

Well, I was working on my monthly Snapshot this morning, and something is definitely up!

It might be something good…this could be the transition to non-Agency Model pricing for Penguin and Random House.

However, Penguin has been a tough negotiator with Amazon before…it’s hard to say exactly what is happening.

I went to gather the prices of the New York Times hardcover fiction equivalents as Kindle books, which I typically do on the first of the month.

#3, Rose Harbor, was not available in Kindle format.

Now, that used to happen sometimes…bestsellers would not be in Kindle format, but it was always pretty unusual…and i haven’t seen it for a while, I think.

The hardback is published by Ballantine, which is part of Random House.

Continuing down the list, I hit Inferno, by Dan Brown being unavailable. That’s been a top Kindle seller. Published by Doubleday,..part of Random House.

I went to eReaderIQ.com, and checked Doubleday as a publisher…there are Doubleday books currently in the Kindle store.

Maybe it is just the bestsellers…as Amazon lowers the prices?

Maybe. I suspect we’ll know pretty quickly. I don’t think this happened with the other publishers on the transition, though.

Random House is bound by the conditions to which Penguin agreed in a settlement with the US Department of Justice in a legal action against a price fixing conspiracy involving the Agency Model…that was basically one of the conditions of their recent merger.

I’ll let you know when I know more and can update you.

Bonus deal: another thing I noticed while doing the research for the Snapshot: The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith, is only $6.50. That’s a lot lower than it was…this could make a good gift for the holidays (or for yourself). You can delay the delivery date on gifts. This could be the result of a price war (Amazon generally does matching), and other books could be involved. This book is published by Mulholland, which is ultimately part of Hachette. The price could change at any time: check that Buy button before clicking or tapping it.

Update: there is an indicator that the number of missing books may be around 9,000. Here is what I wrote in the summary in my Snapshot;

” The number of books added per day looks much lower, which is not good, but that could be due to books being temporarily pulled. If so, we could guess that the number of pulled books may be around 9,000. That would be very, very approximate. I’d base that on 1,000 as a typical number of books added per day, and this month came out closer to 700. 300 (the difference) multiplied by 30 (I know there are thirty days in August, but just doing this roughly) would be about 9,000. “

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Round up #177: $5K from 7-11, OCR oops

June 12, 2013

Round up #177: $5K from 7-11, OCR oops

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

HarperCollins wants you to reinvent publishing

There is this mythology that the tradpubs (traditional publishers) are stuck in the 19th Century…that they can’t see beyond tree-gobbling, smoke-belching book factories and brick and mortar stores.

I’ve said before that I expect the large publishers to be able to make adjustments…oh, not all of them, and not completely, but this industry has already seen major changes, during the life of most of these companies. Look at how railroads and TV have changed publishing. In 1930, publishers hired Edward Bernays (who basically invented modern public relations) to increase sales…and Bernays convinced architects to include built-in bookshelves in new homes. That’s not traditionalist thinking: that’s the ability to go to an expert for help, and to accept it…not what you get with hidebound organizations.

Now, HarperCollins is asking app developers to

“Use imagination and technology to build software that goes beyond the traditional ways we read and discover books.”

This is a contest, with monetary rewards (as high as $15,000).

They aren’t just saying, “Hey, do what you do.” They are making the HarperCollins Open Book API (Application Programming Interface) available. According to the

Booksmash Challenge details page

the API has

“…exclusive book data, author data, and content not available to the general public. These tools will allow developers to think about how to make readers fall in love with books all over again, and how to lead a reluctant reader to just the right story.”

Notice that part about “content”. This suggests that apps will interact with what  you read in some way. Suppose an app noticed the content of a book you read, and maybe took note of what you highlighted. It could then (after you are done reading, hopefully) suggest something else similar. That’s sort of like “people who bought also bought”, but it could be based on actual content, not just the fact that five disparate books were on sale at the same time. Applying “sentiment analysis” might also be a great tool. That would guess, based on the language in the book, if the book was in favor of something or against it. The app could then suggest “other books that support this idea” or “hear from the other side”.

I think this may end up producing something which has a significant impact on the industry. It doesn’t necessarily mean it happens within the confines of the contest: just the fact that it exists may inspire others to come up with their own apps.

Kudos to HarperCollins for encouraging innovation!

Similar to Kindle Worlds, though, there may be developers who are uncomfortable with the terms…out of the box thinking like this tends to naturally encourage the contributions of outsiders. That can be both good and bad, as you get people with less understanding of the situation, but you may also get people who had never thought (or written) about something turning considerable talent and intelligence to it.

7-11 giving away $5,000 in Amazon gift cards

Here’s an opportunity for you to win $5,000 in Amazon gift cards!

https://7eleven.promo.eprize.com/awesummer/

That’s only going for this week, but it does cost anything to enter. I was first alerted to this by my Special Offers on my Kindle Fire…which is one reason the ad-supported  versions of the devices tend to be more popular than their ad-free, but more expensive, counterparts.

I think you could now refer to Amazon gift cards as “Anything Money”. ;) I mean, there are so many options!

If you win, let me know… :)

Doctor W In47o

You know how sometimes you run across books in the Kindle store that are clearly the results of bad OCR (Optical Character Recognition)? No? Let me explain that a bit.

Let’s say that you have a print copy of a book, and you own the rights to it…and you don’t have an electronic file. You want to digitize, to make it into an e-book. You have a few options:

1. Have somebody re-type it. That’s time-consuming, labor intensive (and therefore expensive). With professionals doing it, you are likely to get a pretty good result

2. Have somebody read it into voice recognition software (speech-to-text). That requires less skill, but tends to be somewhat less accurate…and takes quite a long time

3. Scan the book, and ask software to read the images which are created and turn them into words. That’s what OCR does…it looks at (optical) the images to find the letters and numbers (characters). That’s relatively fast, inexpensive…and can be quite inaccurate

I borrowed

Doctor Who Short Trips: Life Science

from the KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) this month…and the faults of OCR are obvious and atrocious.

Here are some of the things that I see:

  • Numbers randomly appearing throughout the book…in the middle of words, for example. They look like footnote indicators, but they aren’t. These are likely because there were wrinkles or smudges on the page, and the numbers are the software’s best guess
  • “M”s rendered as “I n” and things like that. That’s what makes it clear it is OCR…a human wouldn’t make that mistake
  • Sections randomly bolded
  • Completely illegible sections
  • Wordsallsmashedtogether and w o r d s w h e r e e v e r y l e t t e r i s s e p a r a t e. I listen to text-to-speech in the car, and Ivona on my Kindle Fire does a remarkably good job with words without spaces between them…but tends then to pronounce every letter separately in ones where there are unnecessary spaces. So, I might hear “TEE ATCH EE DEE OH SEE TEE OH ARE” instead of “The Doctor”, all said rapidly. I’m pretty good at understanding that sort of thing, but I’m going to stop listening to this book in the car, because it’s clearly going to create a distracted driving situation ;)

How could they have fixed this?

Proofreading, just like you do with any other book. I could have fixed all of it in probably a few hours.

They just don’t want to spend the money. Now, I’m happy to have the book available to me…the writing actually has been good in these short stories. It’s just been such a challenge to get to it! I’m glad I didn’t pay the $12.99 list price for it, certainly, and I think many people would return it as unacceptable.

Apple trial continues

It’s looking increasingly to me like Apple will prevail at trial, but we’ll see. We are getting some very interesting testimony from the publishers (John Sargent of Macmillan, for example), which makes it look less like a conspiracy and more like a game of Cosmic Encounter. ;) Nobody seems to be able to remember anything specific, and they all have these weird powers they suddenly drop into the mix. They all think they are playing the other people for fools. Apple’s not coming across as a “ringleader”, manipulating these publishers into all working together. It sounds like the publishers were also willing to work with Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Google…or anybody they wanted to get the best deal. ;)

Sure, according to this

PaidContent.org article by Laura Hazard Owen

Rupert Murdoch wanted to “screw Amazon”…but it sounds like they were willing to do that to Apple, too. :)

It’s hard to imagine this group all agreeing to anything, based on testimony. I feel like I wouldn’t want to go to lunch with them unless they removed the butter knives first. ;) Just kidding, but it sounds more like a mosh pit than lockstep…

What do you think? What would you like to see an app do to help you discover new books? Do you know someone who might enter the Booksmash Challenge…or who would choose to stay out of it? Is the testimony in the Apple trial getting you to change your estimation of who will win? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Confirmation: Macmillan e-book prices no longer set by publisher

April 6, 2013

Confirmation: Macmillan e-book prices no longer set by publisher

Yesterday, when I was telling you about a bunch of bargains with Amazon apparently price-matching Barnes & Noble on the latter’s half-off sale on top NOOK Books this weekend, I noticed that many of them were Macmillan and suggested that perhaps Macmillan and Amazon had renegotiated terms after the former settled on the Agency Model. Whew, that was  a long sentence! Let me catch breath…okay, to go on… ;)

I’ve checked several Macmillan books this morning, and the line that “This price was set by the publisher” is now gone.

If you’ve been tracking books at

eReaderIQ

which is a great free service that will send you an e-mail when a book you are tracking drops in price an amount you specify, you may have gotten some pleasant surprises in your Inbox.

Macmillan has a number of imprints (specialized lines of books). If you were tracking something from one of these, you may have seen the change:

  • Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • First Second
  • Henry Holt & Co.
  • Nature Publishing Group
  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • Picador
  • Quick and Dirty Tips
  • Scientific American
  • St. Martin’s Press
  • Minotaur Books
  • Thomas Dunne Books
  • Tor/Forge

What does this mean for the future?

We should start seeing Macmillan books discounted at Amazon, including being featured in Kindle Daily Deal and  100 Kindle Books for $3.99 or Less. I’ll certainly be interested in seeing how things are affected when I run my next Snapshot on May 1st. It’s possible the average price of a New York Times bestseller hardback equivalent may drop, for example.

So, where are we on the Big Six US trade publishers and the Agency Model at Amazon?

  • Simon & Schuster: can be discounted
  • Hachette: can be discounted
  • Macmillan: can be discounted
  • HarperCollins: can be discounted
  • Penguin: can not be discounted (still under the Agency Model, but they have settled…we need to wait for the new terms to be worked out)
  • Random House: can not be discounted (still under the Agency Model…they will be bound by Penguin having settled, if their merger with Penguin is approved)

It will take some time after the Agency Model is gone before we really see the impact, because we have to get back into price competition between sellers. I think we might really see an impact this holiday season, though.

Here is a search for books published by Macmillan (this won’t cover all of the imprints):

Macmillan titles in the US Kindle store

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Round up #153: Hydra deal changes, Tim Cook may be deposed

March 14, 2013

Round up #153: Hydra deal changes, Tim Cook may be deposed

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Cook-ing the E-books in Court

What’s is Apple’s most important asset? The iPhone? The iPad?

How about Steve Jobs’ mystique?

I think that’s what might get Apple to finally settle on the Agency Model before they end up in open court.

CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Tim Cook has been ordered to testify in the Department of Justice case against Apple for conspiring with five publishers (all of which have settled now) to raise e-book prices:

Reuters article

Apple’s not happy about that, and for very good reason. Eleven Apple employees have already been deposed or are scheduled to be deposed and, hey, Cook wasn’t even in charge when the deals were made.

No, but Steve Jobs was, and the DoJ argues that Cook may be able to testify (during a four-hour session) as to what Jobs said about e-books and e-book pricing.

If I was Apple, that’s the last thing I’d want. I don’t want Tim Cook to be involved in anything that might hurt Steve Jobs’ reputation.

Apple users love Steve Jobs, and not without reason. If Tim Cook has to deal with negative allegations about Jobs, Cook can only lose. If the current CEO affirms bad things about the old CEO, it makes it look like Apple is now disconnected from the Jobs magic. If the current CEO vigorously defends the old CEO, it looks like Apple can’t grow in a new direction. If it comes out as neutral, Apple looks rudderless.

They do not want that happening in the public eye.

This first thing is a deposition, so that’s different from open court.

I actually think Apple might settle if it looks like Cook might end up on TV in the actual trial messing with Jobs’ public image.

Apple already settled in the EU. Settling doesn’t look so bad…part of the agreement could be that they don’t admit to any wrongdoing.

I really hand it to Judge Denise Cote, who has made things happen very quickly in e-book cases…while we’ve waited years for Judge Denny Chin to do things in the Google settlement.

Random House redoes the Hydra deal

I recently wrote about Random House’s new digital imprints, including Hydra, and how the S.F.W.A. (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and its President had publicly expressed their dissatisfaction with the offering.

Random House has now changed the terms:

A SPECIAL MESSAGE FROM HYDRA, ALIBI, LOVESWEPT AND FLIRT

Let me address two things here. First, the fact that it changed, and second,how the new deal looks.

I had suggested that S.F.W.A. President John Scalzi using the “F word” in a personal blog post about the Hydra terms was likely to be counter-productive.

I still think it may have been.

We have to be careful about cause and effect. We can’t say that Scalzi’s post caused the change. We can say that the change followed Scalzi’s post.

I was fascinated by the way Random House indicated the change happened:

“In response to recent constructive discussions with authors, agents and writers’ groups, including the Horror Writers Association…”

Notice that they didn’t mention the S.F.W.A.

As far as I know (I checked their website and did a quick Google search), the H.W.A. didn’t take the dispute public, or use words like “onerous”.

I know my own prejudice is that treating someone else with respect is more likely to get them to modify their behavior than publicly disrespecting them (I don’t have data that proves that, and certainly, different tactics may apply in different situations), but I will say I’m happy that it changed.

The new deal gives authors a choice of two options (and I think choice is good).

Either the author splits the profits 50-50 with the publisher, or the author gets 25% of receipts.

The profit one means that the costs of producing the book have to be met first; that’s not true with receipts. The second one also offers an advance, which was a sticking point for the S.F.W.A..

In either case, they are still licensing rights for all territories, which I think is a good thing and something I’ve predicted before. It just makes sense in a digital world that you don’t have to enter into separate negotiations for the USA, Australia, the UK, and Japan (for example).

They’ve also addressed the issue of the rights being for the length of the copyright term (which did seem ridiculously long). Now, if (after the first three years) the book fails to sell 300 “copies” in a year, the author can request reversion of rights.

Then there was the issue of derivative works, which Random House seemed to suggest they would have rights to do automatically in the first deal. In the new deal, it’s an additional negotiation if they want to, say, make a video game.

All in all, it seems like a great improvement.

Netflix stock rises on new social element

The feature I would most like to see go away in Netflix is the “recently watched” element.

Our adult kid and I both use one Netflix account, and honestly, it always seems a bit strange to see what the other person has been recently watching.

I don’t have any problem adding something to our Instant Queue to be able to pick up where I left off…I don’t need to know about something that our kid watched and finished. At least, that should be optional.

However, I am from a generation that was more concerned with privacy. My kids generation is much more open about sharing.

I’ve been repeatedly saying that Amazon would benefit from having the option to make our reading more social.

According to this

New York Times article

and many others, Netflix is teaming up with Facebook so that people can share what they’ve watched with others (it’s more than that).

Netflix stock saw a big bump following the announcement.

Now, you might think that’s just because Netflix is teaming up with Facebook (the third largest “country” in the world, by population), but remember, Wall Street doesn’t like Facebook much. ;)

I don’t think Amazon needs to align with Facebook to get social, although they could.

January bookstore sales up 5.5%

This brief

Publishers Weekly article

says that bookstore sales in January in the USA were up 5.5%.

There are a couple of interesting things to tease out of this, even though it is fewer than fifty words.

First, yay! Bookstore sales are up. :)

However, they weren’t up as much as entire retail segment, which rose 6.1% in the same period. The recovery may be related to broad economics, in which case the headline could have read, “Bookstore sales lag behind”.

The other thing was the definition of a bookstore: “…all sales from stores that generate at least 50% of their revenue from books”.

I wonder if that includes Barnes & Noble.

I know that might seem odd at first, but B&N stores sell a lot of things besides books, including magazines, toys, shirts, coffee, and of course, the relatively expensive electronics (including the NOOK tablet line).

My guess is that their revenue is probably still at least 50% from books, but I’d also bet that the ratio has changed dramatically in the past ten years.

The eyes have it

By this time tomorrow, we may know that the Samsung Galaxy S IV has been announced, and that is has an eye-tracking feature:

engadget article

I’ll just say, now that it seems like eye-tracking (which I’ve written about before) is close, I really want it! I commonly do part of my morning Flipboard read with my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless 32GB in its cover, sitting on the towel bar in the bathroom (with a towel under it…better traction), while I exercise. Several of my exercises make it hard to touch the screen to choose articles or “turn pages”. Those are times I’d love to have eye-tracking! I think we’ll all have the option to have it within a few years, and I’ll be interested to see just how robust the feature is on the GSIV (if it exists at all…I expect it will, but it is all just strong rumor at this point).

Update: here’s the video of the razzle dazzle Galaxy S IV announcement:

Unpacked Video

Start at 40 minutes, 30 seconds into it…the rest of it is just vamping for an intro.

What do you think? Does Apple want to protect the Steve Jobs’ image the way Disney protects Walt’s? Would that impact their deciding to go to court or not, in a case which has reportedly produced eight million pages of evidence…so far? Is the Netflix stock bump because of the social aspect, or because Netflix is showing innovation…including with House of Cards? Is the Hydra deal good? Did John Scalzi help make that change happen? Should I be more referring to it as the Loveswept deal? ;) Were you surprised to hear bookstore sales rose? Feel free to let me and readers know by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Hydra vs. the S.F.W.A.

March 10, 2013

Hydra vs. the S.F.W.A.

No, this post isn’t about a spin0ff of Nick Fury. ;)

In this case, Hydra is an imprint of Random House for e-book publications.

The S.F.W.A. is the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, an organization whose mission is to “…informs, supports, promotes, defends and advocates for its members.”

The former is new.

The latter has been around since 1965.

They have recently been in a very public dispute (I’m typically not very comfortable with those).

Hydra’s terms for authors are different from Random House in general’s terms. One can reasonably say that they are offering different terms because the e-book market is different.

That could be okay, of course.

However, due to those terms, the S.F.W.A. says that being published by Hydra is not enough to get you into the organization as an Active or Associate member.

To meet those requirements, you have to have sold stories (one short story for Associate, three short stories or a novel or a professionally produced dramatic script) that qualify.

Think of it a bit like Actors’ Equity or the Screen Actors’ Guild, although this isn’t a union. You can’t just declare yourself an actor and quality for Equity: you have to have done work they accept as proof of being an actor.

I remember when a friend of mine got into S.F.W.A.: we thought it was a big deal (I think it was for a short story in Perry Rhodan, but I’m not sure).

The S.F.W.A.’s rules include that the organization who bought your work has to meet certain requirements also. Those include paying an advance, for one thing.  The S.F.W.A. specifically said on March 7th:

“SFWA has determined that works published by Random House’s electronic imprint Hydra can not be use as credentials for SFWA membership, and that Hydra is not an approved market. Hydra fails to pay authors an advance against royalties, as SFWA requires, and has contract terms that are onerous and unconscionable.”
http://www.sfwa.org/2013/03/random-house-imprint-hydra-not-a-qualifying-market-2/

So, at this point, you can’t get into the S.F.W.A. by just being published by Hydra.

Since authors want to be part of the S.F.W.A., that disadvantages Hydra in trying to license a book from an author.

I have a few thoughts about this.

I’m not going to take one side or the other…I honestly don’t know enough about the Hydra deal sheet and how it compares to other situations to declare it fair or not (although wanting to have the rights for the length of the copyright terms seems unusual).

I want to get this out of the way first. I find public exchanges like this, while enlightening for the public (and I certainly read them)…I guess unseemly is the best word.

This appears to be the timeline for the public part:

This is my own prejudice, but I tend to side with the person who is being more polite. I know that shouldn’t be the case…a person expressing themselves in a negative way doesn’t automatically mean that their ideas are bad. John Scalzi’s post includes (not censored the way I am going to do) “Are you effing kidding me?” Now, I don’t believe that was made as an official statement of the organization (it appeared in Scalzi’s Whatever blog), but I would not want someone who represented me to the world acting that way. It doesn’t seem beneficial, and if it was the President of the company for which I work, I would honestly think people would be acting towards removal. Any member of an organization can express themselves like that: an outward facing officer should be able to get the point across in a way likely to bring about change, not to make it more difficult to achieve (in my opinion).

I may just be old-fashioned in that one, though.

Update: I want to clarify here that it isn’t just the use of the “F word” that concerns me in that post. If it had simply said, “Are you kidding me?” it would still seem counter-productive to me. It wouldn’t be the same, but it would still start out the exchange on a negative footing. For example, if a CEO or President endorsed someone’s offer by saying it was “Effing awesome!” (not using “effing”, but using the whole word) that would still be unprofessional, as far as I’m concerned, but wouldn’t put the group in an antagonistic relationship with the other entity.

The other thing is that I wonder if the S.F.W.A.’s rules are too based on an old system. I’m not saying here that they are wrong in this case. My guess is that Random House is trying to attract people who are currently self-publishing, not  people who in the S.F.W.A. already. Again, on the surface, their terms seem extreme to me, but someone might opt for that in order to get published.

What I’m wondering about is the inclusion of process specific requirements, rather than goals. People often confuse the two.

I remember when people were really upset that the Kindle didn’t have page numbers (it didn’t in the beginning). They wanted page numbers! Well, actually, they didn’t, but didn’t realize it. They wanted what page numbers gave them.

That may seem subtle, but it’s an important difference.

You could require that store where you shop to have hitching posts for your horse. Later on, you get a car…and they don’t provide parking places. You still have the hitching posts, but you don’t have what you really wanted: convenient access.

In the case of an advance, is it the advance, or the ability to make a living as a writer?

Now, I completely understand that you can’t say in a requirement that an organization has to give writers the ability to make a living. It’s just too hard to enforce, too subject to interpretation. It’s easy to say, “Hitching posts? Check.” It’s harder to say, “Convenient access? Check.” It’s just tougher to prove one way or the other.

To be really clear, I think the S.F.W.A. has the right to set their requirements for membership. I think they just have to be careful that those rules are keeping up with the times (and still protecting authors).

The Oscars have these requirements (among others) for Documentary Features:

“Screenings during each of the qualifying runs must occur at least twice daily and must begin between noon and 10 p.m.  The motion picture must be exhibited for paid admission, and must be advertised during each of its runs in at least one of these major newspapers in each city: The New York Times, Time Out New York or The Village Voice (New York); Los Angeles Times or LA Weekly (Los Angeles).  The film must have a movie critic review in either The New York Times and/or Los Angeles Times.  A television critic review will not be accepted.  Advertisements must have minimum dimensions of one inch by two inches and must include the theater, film title and the dates and screening times of the qualifying exhibitions.  Advertising must begin on the first day of the qualifying run.”
-http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/84/rule12.html

My thought right away is what happens if the L.A. Times or the NYT stops publishing? Obviously, the Academy would have to revise their rules.

The public exchanges between the S.F.W.A. and Hydra are interesting…but I kind of wish I wasn’t seeing them like this. I would have been fine with the S.F.W.A. first writing to Random House to question the deal (in private), Random House responding in private, and then, if it couldn’t get resolved, the S.F.W.A. going public. Give somebody a chance to deal with it quietly before making it a public spectacle.

What do you think? First, I am interested, especially if you are an author, in what you think about Hydra’s deal. That goes both for people who are in the S.F.W.A., and somebody who is still wanting to get published for the first time. Am I being ridiculous about being concerned with John Scalzi’s language in a private blog? Is public exposure the only way to bring about change? Does outrage deserve to be heard? Is politeness more likely to affect change than vituperation? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: according to this

Huffington Post article

Random House has changed the terms, offering an authors a choice of two plans. I think it’s worth noting that in this

Random House statement

they mention the Horror Writers Association, but not the S.F.W.A.. To my knowledge (I checked their website and did a quick web search), the HWA did not call out Random House publicly. My intuition suggests the possibility that the S.F.W.A. was not mentioned in this statement due to what I have referenced above. It’s reasonable to suggest that John Scalzi’s stance had an impact on the change, although we don’t know if it was that or the “recent constructive discussions” Random House mentions (or a combination of the two).

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Macmillan settles with the DoJ over the Agency Model

February 9, 2013

Macmillan settles with the DoJ over the Agency Model

Ding dong, the Agency Model is dead!

In this

press release

the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) announces that it has reached a settlement agreement with the last of five publishers against which it took a legal action over a pricing structure referred to as the Agency Model.

The four other publishers had already settled. Random House (the other publisher in the “Big Six”) will also be bound by the agreement that Penguin made, presuming that their merger is approved (and the settlement is approved).

This settlement won’t happen instantly (there is an approval process, and then it takes a bit of time to make new arrangements with the retailers, like Amazon).

Once that all happens, though, the “This price was set by the publisher” line will have disappeared from Amazon’s website.

However, the DoJ’s announcement does say that Macmillan agreed to allow price discounting immediately. I don’t see the price drops yet, and the price-setting line is still there…might happen soon, though.

While I don’t think that all New York Times bestseller hardback equivalents will drop to $9.99, I do think we’ll see specials on more books, and that the NYT list average will go down. Part of that may be driven by the return of competition between retailers on these books…and Amazon’s price-matching policy.

John Sargent, Macmillan’s CEO, had been public during the dispute with Amazon in first implementing the Agency Model (it didn’t get any messier, publicly, than it was between Macmillan and Amazon).

In this

statement

Sargent says

“I like to believe that we would win at trial. But outcomes are hard to predict with certainty, particularly in a civil case with a low burden of proof. And so we agreed to settle with no admission of guilt. As with the other settling publishers, retailers will now be able to discount Macmillan e-books for a limited time. This change will take effect quickly.”

The statement clearly suggests that they will find other ways to fight in the future, referring to this as a “round” (as in a boxing match).

Apple still has not settled, and may actually go to court in June of this year. Unlike Macmillan, Apple can probably afford to fight for a very long time…although it’s worth noting that Apple did settle in the European Union.

As I understand it, the Agency Model is now gone in the USA for e-books through December 2014 (at least). That’s long enough to change the pricing in the market, and to make it so that the conditions that first engendered the Agency Model are not in place at that time.

I suspect Macmillan’s investors will be happy to hear this, since fighting the court battle has been expensive.

When I start noticing price drops on Macmillan books, I’ll let you know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,251 other followers

%d bloggers like this: