Thursday, March 18, 2010

This is Dumb - eBooks

Amazon v Apple, both pressuring publishers on ebook concessions. It’s big business, and it could easily be good or bad for consumers.

Should we have some regulation here? Is the public better served in any way if books are limited to some retailers and not others? Deals have been cut like this for all time, and these “exclusives” sometimes result in better deals for consumers and sometimes not.

Personally I hate to get government involved, but I almost feel like this is a place where business does not serve the world. Making a deal with another business that cuts out other businesses feels like monopoly. And setting pricing limits, like no one can sell lower, almost starts to feel like collusion in pricing.

Amazon has moved e-reading forward. And I think without some serious pressure, book publishers would be like music publishers, they’d resist putting out digital products and try to retain tremendous control.

Both sides need to give. Amazon needs to recognize that not only are they not the only retailer, but that forcing suppliers or customers to them for certain products doesn’t breed customer loyalty. It breeds resentment.

Publishers need to realize that not every customer is a pirate and that ebooks truly do cost less. They cost less in inventory, less in risk ( no investment in books), and less to a distributor. They ought to cost less, and less than just the difference of the paper.

It’s annoying to me and I think that ultimately here this is delaying to progress of e-books, and potentially hurting the reading industry. You’re not just fighting other books, publishers, you’re fighting other entertainment as well. Raising prices on books can easily move the casual reader to get more movies or TV shows instead of books.

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