Monday, December 19, 2011

More on Perceived Ebook Price Fixing

Today The Guardian (via Publisher's Weekly) posted an article on Apple's struggle to Defeat Amazon. More on the big, bad Amazon and efforts to justify an agency model of price threshold to perhaps guarantee the survival of other heretofore giants in the publishing industry.

There seems to be nasty growing pains at the upper echelons of the publishing world. I sense much desperation to hold a place that tended to squeeze the availability of the printed word as in narrowing the choices available, attempting to define what sells, and creating boundaries that tended to squeeze out creative, more niche, talents, and went for the sure sales. I understand the need to stall monopoly. I understand the need that in order to survive, a company, even large corporations, need to show a profit and they don't want their books becoming loss leaders for a company such as Amazon, who has broadened its merchandise scope. Really, I do understand this.

But, the costs, long-ranging, in production of ebooks versus long-ranging in production of a mass market paperback, trade paperback, hard cover, is not the same. Once that ebook is produced, one does not have to revert to more print runs, one is not subject to returns, one is not subject to landfill for books that do not sell as well as anticipated.

The argument that Amazon's market share has been reduced as a direct result of this sort of agency model is...well, suspect. Let's see, the market is flooded with all brands and models of tablets, such as Kobo, B&N, Google, Asus, HP, etc., etc. It seems to me that new consumer/readers will be purchasing as a first choice using a company that provides the app that makes it easiest to purchase what they want. In many cases, that will include discounts and gift certificates for new owners of these devices. My daughter just purchased two Nook tablets for her household, where do you think she's going to buy her books? I can't seem to find a Nook app for my Android tablet, I had a seamless download of the Kindle app. If someone has a Sony reader, or a Kobo reader, where do you thing they're going to purchase? Oh yeah, then there's the iPad. Mustn't forget that one.

I tend to be a bit savvy about techie stuff, so I'll probably be purchasing from a large range of sources, often small publishers because I know the author makes more when I do that.

I doubt I'd put the fluctuation in market share down to the agency models. That justification doesn't hold water. To me, what I see is that the consumer is caught in the cross-hairs of this battle. They are the ones who will suffer and pay the price. Right along with the authors aligned with the major publishers, especially mid-list and new talent. High prices for books mean less purchases made by the average consumer. And again, I see this particularly when you're talking about an ebook, where there is likely not the same reprint and stocking issues associated with those sales. Who's really being affected here? What is really impacting the market fluctuation? Or is it just an "I've got more clout than you and I don't care who suffers, as long as you get your wings clipped"?

I read a lot, and as I've mentioned before, it's across mediums. I have one research book on my Kindle DX, I have one short story up on my Android tablet, and I have a hard cover from one of my favorite authors. Yup, I'm into reading a bit each day from all three.

But for readers out there who want a good read, perhaps you might check with my publishers, they're always giving good deals on books. Take a minute to check out Amber Quill Press and Samhain Publishing if you want good prices for ebooks, and great stories to read, and formats that will work well on pretty much any readers, with customer service departments that are on the ball, ready to help. I'll also recommend Loose Id. Some wicked great reads from these publishers.

And now I've got to get back to writing.

No comments: