Sunday, January 31, 2010

Got Macmillan?

Not anymore you don’t, not if you shop Amazon. On Friday, Amazon removed all its buy buttons for Macmillan books, disappeared them from wish lists, and removed downloaded Macmillan sample chapters from Kindles as well. Apparently, the world’s biggest bookseller is retaliating against the publisher for its move to establish a better pricing system for e-books, one that Macmillan says “provides a level playing field, and allows all retailers the possibility of selling books profitably [emphasis mine].” You can read more about it at Publishers Lunch, which also contains a copy of the ad Macmillan ran to alert its authors, illustrators, and agents. So far Amazon has said nothing publicly.

UPDATE: This just out from Amazon:
Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the "big six" publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have 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. 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.

Kindle is a business for Amazon, and it is also a mission. We never expected it to be easy!

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