Publishing Drama Queens

DramaI’ve reached the end of my rope here.

In case you’ve somehow missed it, there is a labyrinthine mess about ebook pricing going on involving publishers, Amazon, and Apple.

First of all, rest assured that I’m not going to weigh in with a long-winded diatribe on the subject because (a) that’s not my style and (b) I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about. Let me also make clear that I’m not – nor do I pretend to be – a publishing insider.  I am a consumer.  And, as a consumer, I want to know that a book I want to buy is available at the place I choose to buy it at a fair price.

Not asking a lot, is it?

Well, apparently the pinheads in charge don’t see it that way.  In yet another episode of dick-waving – much like the dick-waving that took place when Macmillan pulled all ebooks from Amazon a month or so ago – publishers have withdrawn many ebooks from Amazon and other  retailers.

Including a book that I pre-ordered for Kindle:  Changeless by Gail Carriger.

And that royally hacks me off.

What kind of business practice is it to pull items off your virtual shelves on what seems to be a whim?

It’s unprofessional.  It’s chaotic.  And it tells me that you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

Here’s what I understand about the core issue. To date ebooks have been sold under a classic retail model in which publishers sell to retailers who then sell to readers at a price set by the retailer. In the agency model, publishers set the price and retailers make a commission. Amazon is engaged in forging agreements with various publishers — some are still holdouts and I don’t know why the hell that’s happening.  The bottom line for readers is that higher prices than we’ve seen in the past will probably be the result.

But I think the undeniable truth is that publishers don’t have a clue how to deal directly with consumers because they basically never have.  And, let’s face it, they are not off to a good start.

I make my living in the advertising business and I once worked on an account of a large bank that was aggressively building and opening new branches.  Despite the fact that it takes a year or so to build a bank, every single time a new branch was ready to open – every single freakin’ time – the bank was surprised.  Oh!  How did that happen?  My goodness!  We must have a rush campaign prepared overnight at great inconvenience to the poor advertising agency drones!

Much like that perpetually surprised bank, how publishers could be so unprepared to deal with ebook pricing that they are scrambling to find a solution is beyond me.  Seriously beyond me.  Especially since the scrambling is totally visible to ebook early adopters who are already involved and dedicated readers and…well, your freakin’ best customers. And you never, ever show your dirty underwear to your customers.

Here’s my bottom line:  I’m willing to pay a fair price for an ebook.  Just make up your minds already what that’s going to be.

And one last thought:  Can we just stop already with the childish shelf-pulling tantrums?  Publishing is a business and, gee, can’t we just get on with it acting like it?

Thank you.

- Sandy AAR

87 thoughts on “Publishing Drama Queens

  1. Well, I’m upset — Patience at this time is not available over at Amazon and they push back the date on Jennifer Haymore’s latest book. What the heck is Agency 5 pricing?

  2. If the publishers/book sellers ever get their acts together, so buying a ereader and ebooks ends up cheaper than buying paperbacks, maybe THEN I’ll consider getting an ereader.
    But not when they all just keep making it harder and harder.

  3. Nora Robert’s Savor & Amanda Quick’s Burning Lamp are also pulled. I pre-ordered before the 4/1/10 deadline, and they are still on my account but if Penquin/Putnam doesn’t reach an agreement, then of course I won’t get them.

    Honestly, I about ready to just go back to using my library. Publishers are expecting the same or slightly lower price for items that don’t need inventory, or shipping or paper. . . And it just makes me think that they are trying to gouge me, the consumer.

    I can’t say, I won’t buy a actual book, but it is sure going to be at a discounted retailer, like Wal Mart or Target. . and if I do buy books they are going to be paperbacks, since my library carries the hardbacks.

    They are so shooting themselves in the foot.

  4. “What kind of business practice is it to pull items off your virtual shelves on what seems to be a whim?”

    The legal kind? They’re not authorized to sell the books by the publisher. I know you said you’re not following the drama and don’t know what’s going on but more etailers than just Amazon had to pull all the ebooks from the five publishers adapting the agency model off the shelves.

  5. Honeywell, I’m writing this as a consumer and pulling items off your shelves makes no sense to consumers.

    I understand why it happened, but I do not understand WHY they’ve let it get to this ridiculous shoot-themselves in the foot levels. Chaos is not good for business.

  6. Ok. But I’d just like to add that I’m a consumer too and while I might not LIKE that they had to pull the ebooks by those publishers I do understand that they legally can’t sell those books until/if they’re authorized to again.

    I get (I think) the point you’re trying to make with your blog but I think a few more facts–since you know them–would have been nice for the readers who really don’t understand what’s going on. But angry blogs about dick waving are good too.

  7. Honeywell, I’m not blaming the retailers for any of this and I believe that is clear. My target is publishers who have withdrawn the legal authorization to sell books.

  8. I really thought you were placing the blame at Amazon’s door too like they had a choice in this latest round of book pulling which is why I commented but either or I did enjoy your blog. In fact, I didn’t know the site even had a blog so I’ve been enjoying some of the older entries. Thanks for the work you (and all the staff) put into the site–it’s appreciated.

  9. Glad you’re enjoying the blog and the site, Honeywell. I just edited the blog to make it crystal clear that it is publishers who have withdrawn the books.

  10. I don’t have an e-reader. I was considering buying a Kindle to take with me on my trip to England in May, but since this mess has escalated, I’ve decided to wait. There are probably quite a few people like me, who figure that instead of buying an e-reader and then being victimized by either Amazon or publishers (or both?), it’s easier and more prudent to simply avoid the fray. The publishers and/or Amazon don’t seem to have the readers’ best interests at heart, so instead of a valued customer, I feel like an ugly stepchild! Until that perception changes I’m not about to shell out $300 for an e-reader.

  11. Amen, Sandy.

    I am so sick of this Agency 5 price war. I completely agree that the publishers need to get a bloody clue about business and consumers.

    I too pre-ordered Gail Carrigers CHANGELESS, and on the 30th Amazon sent me an email stating that the release date had been pushed back to the 8th, which totally hacked me off. They didn’t specifically say that Hatchette pushed it back, but since they didn’t come to terms with Hatchette until late on the 31st, that had to have been why.

    Luckily it is still listed as a pre-order on my account, so I know eventually I will get it downloaded to my Kindle, I just don’t know when. The thing I am most worried about is whether or not the price will increase now.

    • Valarie P.: Amen, Sandy.I am so sick of this Agency 5 price war.I completely agree that the publishers need to get a bloody clue about business and consumers.I too pre-ordered Gail Carrigers CHANGELESS, and on the 30th Amazon sent me an email stating that the release date had been pushed back to the 8th, which totally hacked me off.They didn’t specifically say that Hatchette pushed it back, but since they didn’t come to terms with Hatchette until late on the 31st, that had to have been why.Luckily it is still listed as a pre-order on my account, so I know eventually I will get it downloaded to my Kindle, I just don’t know when.The thing I am most worried about is whether or not the price will increase now.

      At least you received an email notification. I only found out my pre-ordered ebook was missing when I decided to go online and find out why it wasn’t loaded onto my Kindle.

  12. I’m just one little consumer, but I won’t pay the same price for an ebook that I pay for a print book. I know they’re convenient, but it’s just not that hard to carry a paperback book around. I’ve been doing it for over 20 years. Surely ebooks do not cost as much to produce as print books since both have to be formatted and then you don’t have paper, production, and shipping costs involved in ebooks. I’d rather keep my local book store in business so I have a place to browse and read in a comfy chair, and maybe drink coffee, away from children and household chores.

    So listen up publishers: I WILL NOT pay the same price for an ebook as a print book. With coupons, member cards, and promotions, I generally get my books 10%-50% off, so publishers are going to have to discount ebooks at least 20% to keep my business.

  13. lol, I don’t know whether to boycott e-books for the price, or boycott paperback/hb books so the publisher will know that I only want to buy in the e-book format so they better get their act together.

    Probably what will happen is that I am going to do most of my buying in the format that is the cheapest. . and use the library for more books

  14. One of the problems with ebooks for me is not being willing or able to share them with family. It makes no sense, for example, for me to buy the kindle version of a Jim Butcher book or one of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson books. Almost everyone in my family (8 people in all) reads these authors, and I won’t loan out my kindle (or my iPod Touch) for days at a time. And since I generally prefer print books because I like to flip forwards and backwards easily within the books, I tend to buy those unless the ebook prices are significantly cheaper than paper.

  15. As a fairly new ebook owner, I feel like the unwanted the consumer. I’m getting the message from publishers that ebook customers are ‘bad’, they’re taking away their profits from hardcovers. So their plan of action seems to be to raise ebook prices (in some cases more than the print version even) and delay new releases. The thing is, I’ve purchased more ebooks in the two months I’ve had my device than I purchased print books in a year, so I find it very hard to believe they’re not making enough of a profit off my sales. I’ve purchased books I never would have picked up, in HC or paperback if I hadn’t purchased my ereader. I’ve watched some items on my B&N wishlist now double in price, others have added a couple bucks, others are the same, just in the past 24 hours.

    There is a publishing house that deserves credit according to this article I read, it’s Random House and they will definitely be getting my support -

    http://trueslant.com/rogertheriault/2010/02/08/random-house-sides-with-amazon-e-book-readers-on-pricing/

    Ebooks are here to stay, instead of running scared and trying to discourage them I think publishers should take the time now to cultivate a good relationship with their customers.

    • Linda in sw va: As a fairly new ebook owner, I feel like the unwanted the consumer. I’m getting the message from publishers that ebook customers are ‘bad’, they’re taking away their profits from hardcovers.

      YES, Linda. This is the feeling that I’m getting too. Which is so short sighted and stupid and leaves me even more convinced that publishers don’t have a clue about how to deal directly with readers.

      We are THEIR BEST CUSTOMERS.

  16. I think the person I’m most angry with/at is Steve Jobs. I have an 80 GB Ipod, and Ipod Touch (replaced my stolen Nano) and a MacBook laptop and now I’m regretting all of those purchases. His collusion with and coercion of the publishers has made me very angry. Many have criticized Amazon for it’s proprietary nature and retailing practices but Jobs is attempting to set the course for everyone with ebooks.

  17. Confusion reigns – I just went to look at a new sports related true-crime book published by Random House:
    Hard cover price $26 discounted at Amazon to $17.55, available from “other sellers” at $12.47 – Kindle edition $14.30
    Random House ebook price $32
    Diesel Books ebook price $31.20
    Sony Price $18.20
    B&N price only for the Nook $9.99

    Is this crazy or what – it’s Border’s coupon time….

    • PatW: Confusion reigns – I just went to look at a new sports related true-crime book published by Random House:Hard cover price $26 discounted at Amazon to $17.55, available from “other sellers” at $12.47 – Kindle edition $14.30Random House ebook price $32Diesel Books ebook price $31.20Sony Price $18.20B&N price only for the Nook $9.99Is this crazy or what – it’s Border’s coupon time….

      Wow that is nuts! I had the Sookie ebooks set – 1-8 on my B&N wishlist, it jumped from $31 to $55 overnight when the agency model kicked in, I went and purchased the Amazon Kindle edition for $33. I had read on a message board that there are some publishers by which Amazon’s rights didn’t run out until tomorrow, so just in case it shot up there too I decided to go ahead and get it. Over $20 differenece is nothing to sneeze at.

      Right now Random House is letting retailers set their own prices, which is why you may find that it varies.

  18. Well, my book isn’t involved in the price issue (pubbed by Soucebooks) and Amazon pulled the buy button on it, too. Nobody knows why, including my publisher.

    I understand the upset, but keep in mind it takes two to fight and Amazon is the only retailer who is having this “problem.”

    As to price, you can buy Lessons in French at bn.com for $3.42 and Carriger (mobi) for 6.75 at Diesel.

    Competition is frankly good, so I’d say buy from other retailers if you want the market to be competitive. Amazon wants to dominate, drive the other retailers out of the market. Their loss-leader pricing (retailer loses money on every sale of my book at $3.42, because it’s under 50% of the cover price) will only last until they control the market.

    • Laura Kinsale: Well, my book isn’t involved in the price issue (pubbed by Soucebooks) and Amazon pulled the buy button on it, too. Nobody knows why, including my publisher.I understand the upset, but keep in mind it takes two to fight and Amazon is the only retailer who is having this “problem.” As to price, you can buy Lessons in French at bn.com for $3.42 and Carriger (mobi) for 6.75 at Diesel. Competition is frankly good, so I’d say buy from other retailers if you want the market to be competitive. Amazon wants to dominate, drive the other retailers out of the market. Their loss-leader pricing (retailer loses money on every sale of my book at $3.42, because it’s under 50% of the cover price) will only last until they control the market.

      Sadly, other retailers have been effected, at least as of April 1 — some changed their prices one or two days before just to be certain. Some books have been pulled from Fictionwise while the renegotiate with publishers. Fictionwise and Kobo both ended their discount clubs because of the new pricing, and I think some other e-book retailers have done the same.

      A lot of this happened quickly, without warning to the consumer. Some people (using Fictionwise, etc.) had the same problems with e-books they preordered no longer being available. And that truly sucks as they already paid for those books.

    • Laura Kinsale: Competition is frankly good, so I’d say buy from other retailers if you want the market to be competitive.

      This has to be a belated April Fools Day joke. Right?

    • Laura Kinsale: Well, my book isn’t involved in the price issue (pubbed by Soucebooks) and Amazon pulled the buy button on it, too. Nobody knows why, including my publisher.I understand the upset, but keep in mind it takes two to fight and Amazon is the only retailer who is having this “problem.” As to price, you can buy Lessons in French at bn.com for $3.42 and Carriger (mobi) for 6.75 at Diesel. Competition is frankly good, so I’d say buy from other retailers if you want the market to be competitive. Amazon wants to dominate, drive the other retailers out of the market. Their loss-leader pricing (retailer loses money on every sale of my book at $3.42, because it’s under 50% of the cover price) will only last until they control the market.

      Competition is good, but there isn’t going to be any competition if the Publishers get their way, and it looks like they have. They will set the ebook prices and the retailer will have no say in it and we will have to pay those prices no matter where we shop.

      I’ll use Twilight as an example, when I first got my Nook I purchased it in ebook form for $6.99. After the ‘Agency Model’ took effect, B&N had to raise it’s price to $9.99, and they sell the paperback for $7.91! So in this case, the ebook will cost more than purchasing a paperback book, where is the justification in that? And what message does that send to ebook customers? Go away, purchase paperbacks, we don’t want your ebook business. At least Amazon tried to fight them on it, though it doesn’t look like they won.

  19. I had a nonfiction book on my nook wishlist that was running around $7.99 — which makes sense as it was a reprint of a true crime paperback from the 1980s or 1990s. When I checked again, the price had gone up to $19.99. That makes even less sense than pricing the e-book edition of a new hardback at $14.99 to $19.99!

    Don’t publishers realize people buy more books because of the discounts? Instead, I ended up removing items from my wishlist because the price increases made them less attractive. And my wish list at Fictionwise went from over 100 titles to about 40 overnight because they had to pull titles from certain publishers when renegotiating with them. Sigh. I hope it’s rebuilt eventually so I can remember what was on there. :)

  20. I was **this close** to buying the Kindle. All this has me wondering, and putting it off, again. *sigh*.

  21. And this is yet another reason why I haven’t jumped in and got myself an ereader – up and down pricing, prices at the same price as print book when there is no justification for it, too many confusing choices.
    Unless and until every thing is all sorted out, I’ll just stick with print books. Those I know I can get.

  22. Laura Kinsale: I absolutely love your books, so your Amazon-bashing makes me unhappy. I love my Kindle too, and Amazon has given me great customer service for years. It seems rather self-destructive of you to dump on an outlet that sells your books!

  23. I’ve had my Kindle for almost 2 years now (original K1 is still going strong) and have nothing but praise for Amazon’s customer service. I have bought more books than I would have in paper, including 148 that I already owned in paper. My cash — it went to publishers and authors, yes?

    The deal struck between Apple and the pubs is clearly designed to tap into a new customer pool who aren’t accustomed to the discounts we early adopters are. Blowing off and pissing off millions of existing customers is assinine. One million potential new customers vs tens of millions of old loyal ones. Yeah, that makes sense. And to think I’ve been an Apple loyalist. Ugh.

    Big business screws up again. Maybe congress will have to step in and help with Chrysler style bailouts when publishers start going under.

    Any author who supports this is sadly out of touch with her readers. I don’t love any author well enough to overpay for an inferior digital file.

  24. LOL, Marcella! But I think they’ve shown again how they don’t know how to speak to the little people. Charles sounds so formal and aloof. They should have gone with warmer and easier to love. Mary Poppins, Pollyanna, Winnie the Pooh, Granny, or Who’s Your Daddy.

  25. The new Ariana Franklin book in the Mistress of the Art of Death series has also been pulled by amazon.com (per e-mail notification).

    I’m genuinely annoyed.

  26. Ms. Kinsale,

    As others have pointed out, Amazon is not the only retailer that has had to withdraw books.

    As for competition, aren’t publishers the ones putting the kibosh on competitive pricing?

    I’ve had a Kindle for well over two years and have had nothing but excellent customer support from Amazon and I’ve consistently paid fair prices for books — I can’t recall the kind of loss leader you’re talking about. Typically, a $7.99 book would go for $6 and some change. Great for me as a consumer and great for authors and publishers who are selling books. And, with coupons and discounts available at retail, the price is very close to the paper price.

    The way I see it, the customer lost in this facedown. We’re all going to be paying higher prices. And, no doubt, buying fewer books.

    The kind of crazy pricing people have posted about here is going to do nothing but alienate customers. Though the consumer loses in the agency model, at least there will be some kind of standard. And that’s something at least.

  27. I have a sony reader and sony sent a message to all of its customers telling us that some books have been pulled but that we should be patient and the issue will be resolved soon. I have several questions: What publishers are a part of the “Agency 5″ group, what are their new requirements of retailers and what does all this have to do with Apple? I realize Apple has a new book store associated with the iPAD but how has that effected overall ebook pricing?

    • Renee: I have a sony reader and sony sent a message to all of its customers telling us that some books have been pulled but that we should be patient and the issue will be resolved soon. I have several questions: What publishers are a part of the “Agency 5″ group, what are their new requirements of retailers and what does all this have to do with Apple? I realize Apple has a new book store associated with the iPAD but how has that effected overall ebook pricing?

      The relation to Apple – with the launch of the new IPAD, Apple entered into an agreement with these 5 publishers that no other retailer would be able to sell ebooks for less than they will in their iboookstore. All but Random House agreed, well aside from independent publishers such as Smashwords.

      The requirements as I understand them are that the publishers will set the price for ebooks and any retailer selling them will have to comply. No coupons or discounts or other incentives can be offered. So essentially you will pay the same price for that ebook no matter where you shop, unless it’s a Random House book.

      As I understand it the 5 are Hachette, Harper Collins, Penguin, Simon Shuster and MacMillan and of course their subsidiaries.

      I wonder how print book customers would feel if they were told they could no longer pick up a paperback at Target or Walmart at a discount, or using their B&N discount card for 10% off. It would be easier to swallow if there was such a thing as ‘fair pricing’ but when you have ebooks that cost $2-$3 more than you would pay for the paperback, it adds up.

  28. One more correction for you original blog: the month-ago event (almost two months ago now) was AMAZON removing MacMillan titles, not MacMillan telling Amazon to remove titles. The current mess may be publisher initiated, but that one was from the other end.

  29. Thanks, Linda for the information. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I love my Sony reader but I will hesitate to buy certain ebooks by those publishers if the prices remain the same as their print counterparts. This approach seems very shortsignted on the part of publishers who seem like they are ignoring the very market (avid readers) that have made them profitable in the past. This appears to be really unfortunate news for the ebook marketplace and will encourage me to get many of my digital books from the library for free. As an aside, this whole debate makes me rather ticked off at Apple who seems like they have agreed to this solely as a way of limiting competition and enhancing their own market share with the roll out of their new iPAD.

  30. Just in the Kindle store and found two books that had disappeared are back. Price is $7.99 “set by publisher” the same as paperback version. In my Kindle account my pre-ordered price is still listed at $6.39. I’ll be checking to see if my price changes. I’m wondering if Amazon will notify me of a price change and if the publishers will allow Amazon to honor pre-order prices. And what will I do? Dammit, I don’t know because I really want these books. I am pissed at the publishers.

  31. Well, my post didn’t show up. . .trying again. Hope I don’t get double post. . .

    Here is the information that you guys are talking aboug just presented a different way:

    Original release, March 25, 2010: In an move not yet fully described to BooksOnBoard and other independent retailers, 5 of the industry’s top publishers have advised us (directly or through our wholesalers) in the last week that they are imposing a Required Ebook Pricing (REP) model on all ebook stores as of April 1. This will affect all USA pricing, but the impact on our UK store is uncertain. EBooks from these publishers are not expected to be available on either of our stores starting April 1 until the publishers sort out the infrastructure to deploy this change. This could take several days or it may take weeks. BooksOnBoard is ready to deploy the changes once the publisher and wholesaler infrastructures are in place. The change, we understand, is likely to result in a significant increase in the net selling price of many of our popular ebooks. In order to keep offering these titles, we are required to comply, and we will, in order to continue to make these books available. The five publishers are the following and the action, we’re told, includes all their imprints and their entire backlist (a full list of agency pricing ebook imprints here):

    •Hachette (publisher of Stephanie Meyer, David Baldacci, James Patterson and more),
    •Penguin (publisher of Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris)
    •Harper Collins (publisher of much Dennis Lehane, Christine Feehan, James Rollins, Johanna Lindsey, Diane Mott Davidson, Kerrelyn Sparks, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lisa Kleypas, Jodi Picoult, Jeaniene Frost, and Tony Hillerman)
    •MacMillan (publisher of Lisa Scottoline, Governor Mitt Romney, Terry Goodkind and more)
    •Simon & Schuster (publisher of Kresley Cole, Kathy Reichs, Sabrina Jeffries)

    http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?F=ebooks-agencypricing

  32. I don’t know the laws, but this sure sounds like illegal price fixing and restraint of trade.

    • Mark: I don’t know the laws, but this sure sounds like illegal price fixing and restraint of trade.

      I agree, Mark. There has been some talk on some of the PC/Tech magazine blogs about this controversy not being over with the retailers agreement with the new pricing requirements. Some are speculating that this is something that the FTC should investigate.

  33. Sandy – I agree, we are definitely their best customers! I don’t see how they can complain that they’re not making enough profit off me as an ebook customer considering all the books I’ve purchased.

    I have to wonder, if they’re able to get away with this for ebooks, what would stop them from moving on to print books? What if they decided that Amazon or B&N could no longer offer discount incentives on hardcovers or paperbacks?

  34. Well I tried twice last night to post and it just disappeared. . Maybe third time is a charm.

    this is from here: http://www.booksonboard.com/index.php?F=ebooks-agencypricing

    Original release, March 25, 2010: In an move not yet fully described to BooksOnBoard and other independent retailers, 5 of the industry’s top publishers have advised us (directly or through our wholesalers) in the last week that they are imposing a Required Ebook Pricing (REP) model on all ebook stores as of April 1. This will affect all USA pricing, but the impact on our UK store is uncertain. EBooks from these publishers are not expected to be available on either of our stores starting April 1 until the publishers sort out the infrastructure to deploy this change. This could take several days or it may take weeks. BooksOnBoard is ready to deploy the changes once the publisher and wholesaler infrastructures are in place. The change, we understand, is likely to result in a significant increase in the net selling price of many of our popular ebooks. In order to keep offering these titles, we are required to comply, and we will, in order to continue to make these books available. The five publishers are the following and the action, we’re told, includes all their imprints and their entire backlist (a full list of agency pricing ebook imprints here):

    •Hachette (publisher of Stephanie Meyer, David Baldacci, James Patterson and more),
    •Penguin (publisher of Nora Roberts/JD Robb, Lora Leigh, Nalini Singh, the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris)
    •Harper Collins (publisher of much Dennis Lehane, Christine Feehan, James Rollins, Johanna Lindsey, Diane Mott Davidson, Kerrelyn Sparks, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lisa Kleypas, Jodi Picoult, Jeaniene Frost, and Tony Hillerman)
    •MacMillan (publisher of Lisa Scottoline, Governor Mitt Romney, Terry Goodkind and more)
    •Simon & Schuster (publisher of Kresley Cole, Kathy Reichs, Sabrina Jeffries)

    and then:

  35. oops. . .didn’t finish the and then. . .

    which is more of so you can see the scope of the authors, and books involved. . .

  36. Traditional publishing companies will become superfluous some years from now and they’ve now started digging their own graves. Apple has just handed them the shovel.

  37. I think there is another hold-out within the subsidiaries, I notice that the Penguin books (Charlaine Harris) are still priced at under the paperback cost (20% under for Dead Until Dark) and do not have the ‘this price has been set by the publisher’ notice on Amazon’s site.

    I think we should focus on purchasing ebooks from those that have not raised their prices and send a message that way. Go through your wishlist and see what hasn’t gone up. I will then send a comment to the publisher letting them know why I’ve purchased one of their books, as opposed to those from another publisher.

  38. I think that is a great idea. . . Amazon is caught between a rock and a hard place. . . I ordered Savor the Moment by Roberts and Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick. . I wonder if these publishing companies will let them honor pre-orders that were placed before the deadline.

    Can anyone explain how these publishers can in actuality get away with price fixing?

  39. Having trouble posting too. It’s worth nothing that so far Penguin hasn’t raised their prices, they publish Charlaine Harris among others. I notice their ebooks on Amazon are still 20% off the paperback price and they don’t have that ‘this price has been set by the publisher’ note.

    During the next couple months I’m going to go through my wish list and purchase only from publishers that either did not participate in this ‘agency model’, or have not raised their prices to that or above paperback. Then I’m going to send a comment to the publisher letting them know I purchased their books and why. The best way we can show support or non-support is where it counts – in the cash!

  40. Having trouble posting too. It’s worth noting that so far Penguin hasn’t raised their prices, they publish Charlaine Harris among others. I notice their ebooks on Amazon are still 20% off the paperback price and they don’t have that ‘this price has been set by the publisher’ note.

    During the next couple months I’m going to go through my wish list and purchase only from publishers that either did not participate in this ‘agency model’, or have not raised their prices to that or above paperback. Then I’m going to send a comment to the publisher letting them know I purchased their books and why. The best way we can show support or non-support is where it counts – in the cash!

  41. Ok, sorry for the double/triple posting – I realize now that I didn’t think comments were showing up because of the way it was going back to older posts. Once I hit ‘newer’ comments, they showe up.

  42. Follow up – I was just told on another message board that Amazon hasn’t signed the agreement with Penquin yet, which is why their prices haven’t gone up yet. So, until they sign the agreement they will not have any titles available 4/1 or later. So now might be a good time to get any Penquin titles you have on your wish list, in case they’re next to go up to that of or more than paperback.

  43. I’m attaching an “agency 5 price fixing” tag on the paper versions of any books I come across at Amazon with the higher pricing. It’s not as good as writing the publisher but it’s a quick and easy way to show my displeasure. Hopefully it’ll also remind me not to buy those books in any format since that’s what the publishers are trying to do, force me to buy print books. Screw them, sorry authors.

  44. After reading a bookstore owner essay about how the kindle (and other ereaders) have cut into their sales, I’m wondering of the publishers aren’t getting some pressure from that quarter to protect print sales. A friend of a friend’s independent bookstores has suffered over the past two years from ebook sales. She says even her best customers are buying about half the books as before. At first she thought it was just the recession, but it turns out when she started asking, most have purchased some sort of ereader (usually kindle) and are buying books that way. Only part of it was the convenience factor. One of the big pulls has been that ebooks are priced more cheaply than print books, especially hardcover new releases.

    Obviously, this is anecdotal, but it does give another spin on things. The big retailers–Amazon, Borders, and Barnes and Nobles– have all tried to cover sales by getting in on the ebook bandwagon, but the smaller retailers are pretty much out of luck. Add to that that audible is eating their lunch on audio book sales, and you have small retailers struggling to stay afloat.

    It all gets kind of muddled for me. I don’t want to see just the giants selling books, and I don’t want just ebooks. I have a kindle but I really like print book! But at the same time, I hate for the publishers, Apple, Amazon, or anyone else to screw around with my choices and my money just to corner the market and increase profits. And I admit to being a bit of a hypocrite since I don’t frequent small book sellers much because I’m on a budget. I usually buy with a coupon from Borders, sometimes from Barnes and Nobles, and occasionally from Amazon.

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