Amazon Blinks in Stare Down With Macmillan
At least at this point in time, book content
belongs to publishers and when faced with the option of agreeing to higher
retails or not having anything to sell, Amazon.com chose the former.
merchant found itself in a dispute with Macmillan over e-book prices the publisher
felt were too low. Instead of selling best-sellers for $9.99 when they come
on the market, Macmillan was looking for titles to start higher when offered
on Amazon’s Kindle device.
In the end, the parties agreed to a $12.99 to $14.99
range with prices to change after titles have been on the market for an unspecified
period. At first, however, Amazon had tried to muscle Macmillan by pulling
all of the publisher’s titles over the weekend. The dispute did not last long
with the e-tailer working it out with Macmillan before the work week began.
a posting on its Kindle Forum, Amazon said it had “to capitulate and accept
Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and
we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly
high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves
whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book.”
is looking to establish a low-price position in the market as it faces challenges
from developers of other devices that read e-books such as Apple and Sony as
well as strong competitors on the retail front including Barnes & Noble,
Target and Wal-Mart Stores.
For its part, at least publicly, Amazon does not
expect to replay its confrontation with Macmillan with other publishers. “We
don’t believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as
Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published
authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books
as an alternative.”
Discussion Questions: What is your reading of the Amazon
and Macmillan dispute? How do you expect other publishers – large and small –
Macmillan E-books – Amazon.com
- Publisher Wins Fight With Amazon Over E-Books – The New York Times
- Amazon.com to capitulate to Macmillan price demand – The Associated Press/Yahoo!
- Reading behind the Amazon-Macmillan battle – The Seattle Times