Thursday, February 4, 2010

Words in the Ether

There is a huge battle going on between Amazon and publishers and its effects will trickle down to you, the reader, in ways you may not realize. Currently, if you own a Kindle, you can purchase bestsellers for only $9.99. For those of us who use 'hardcopy' versions or...books, it seems that this is somebody else's problem. That is actually not true. You see Amazon has an incredible market share on books. In fact most of their money isn't made on their bestsellers, its made from the search engine recommendations of lesser known titles. So bestsellers aren't really making them a whole lot of revenue. Some numbers suggest its as small as three percent. So why the stubborness? Why in the face of the spectacular release of the iPad would Amazon and its less spiffy Kindle behave like they can alienate their customers without consequence?

The problem with Amazon and its baby, the Kindle ebook reader, is that what you buy isn't necessarily yours. At least not in the Amazon universe. Over the weekend Amazon's dispute with MacMillan reached a head when Amazon pulled all of the Macmillan titles from its website. What's more, sample chapters of Macmillan books downloaded by people were sucked from their Kindle libraries without notice. That move, I think, will hurt Amazon more than raising prices would have.

People are still wary of the "virtual" product. The techies that buy the latest gadgets...not so much. But if I save up for some frivolous device I better be able to trust the company that I buy my content from. Amazon is not that company to many after this weekend.

Some speculate that all of this will effect the non-ebook consumer in the long run. If Amazon does raise it's prices then smaller book stores that have trouble competing with the distribution behemoth may have a chance to win back customers with service that doesn't bite you when you're not looking.

What is your opinion of the battle of the book giants? Does Amazon's behavior affect how you'll purchase your next book? I'd love to hear what you have to say. Until later, my friends, you're on my heart and in my prayers.


pat said...

I Think amazon was wrong to take the chapters fro its Kindle readers.
Why they dropped McMillan is probably only those behind closed doors will know.
I and other readers know Amazon has lots of competition, not the least is alibris, barnes and nobles, and half priced books. Many book lovers come to the annual library sales that many cities have, our Arlington library has 2 a year and sells hardcover books at $1.00 ea, guess who gets there first and early....
booksellers from around the state join the freinds of the library and use their hand-held bar code readers to pick the cherries from the collection. It still leaves thousands of books and most be go home satisfied. Let me know if you have a favorite author book yo, you haven't read and would like.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

thanks for the follow! i live in CA, too. was just talking about trying to get a local chapter of american christian fiction writers up here...i seem to be the only one this far north!

The Character Therapist