Why Random House won’t be on the iPad

iPad running iBooks.You might have noticed that one major publisher is missing from the list of iPad adopters: Random House. You might think it’s because it doesn’t believe in the platform, or it has some dispute with Apple. None of the above. As the Financial Times has it, it’s because Random House doesn’t want to get into an ebook price war.

So let’s get this straight. To avoid a price war, the publisher is willing to stay with a company who requires a fixed price of $9.99? A company all the other publishers are glad to get away from? A company that is so desperate to keep publishers that it threatens to remove their goods from its store if those publishers don’t comply?

Yes. Apparently that. Granted, Apple’s model could potentially mean less profit per book for publishers because of the 30 percent cut it takes. It will make up for that, potentially, by giving publishers a little more control over their pricing and theoretically increasing the reach of ebooks. For the full story, head over to the Financial Times.

Amazon tries to stay competitive with Apple, will need a new device

Steve Jobs in a chair with the iPad.The day Apple announced the iPad, Amazon was calling newspapers and publishers before Steve Jobs had even left the stage. As the New York Times’ Bits blog has it, Amazon wanted to hear what Apple had offered. Amazon had been trying for more than a month to sign deals with publishers that would give Amazon customers the best prices anywhere, either by matching or beating the prices given to other dealers.

Amazon tried to sweeten the deal by offering publishers bigger revenues than in the past. Unfortunately, Apple was willing to budge on a much larger issue: price. With Apple, publishers had a bit more flexibility than Amazon would give, which in turn gave publishers bargaining power over Amazon. See, Amazon will do just about anything to stay competitive with Apple.

In fairness to Amazon, it’s not like publishers want to upset that distribution channel. Amazon pretty much pioneered the ebook scene – it certainly made ebooks as popular as they were likely to become before some sort of wonder device came along – which leaves publishers keen to cater to the existing subscribers in Amazon’s marketplace until either the iPad gains enough ground or Amazon releases a new reader.

That last point is very important. If Amazon doesn’t release a new reader within the next year or so, it will pigeonhole itself into becoming solely a content provider, a position I wouldn’t think Bezos wants to be in considering he started the Kindle. Rarely would a company of Amazon’s scale introduce a middling product only to do away with it in a couple years.

Source: Bits

Nook is back in stock with free shipping

Barnes and Noble Nook.Barnes & Noble has finally gotten its Nook production to catch up with consumer demand, and it’s just in time for Valentine’s Day. The company is using the holiday of love to help market its Kindle competitor, throwing in some extra goodies just in case you weren’t already sold on the device.

When you order you’ll get access to the “More in Store” content from Barnes & Noble, which includes a short story from Adriana Trigiani, a red velvet cupcake recipe by Anne Byrn, aka Cake Mix Doctor, and access to a regular feature called “Read Between the Wines,” which is about pairing your books with your vintage of choice.

If you order online your Nook will be shipped for free. If you prefer the in-store experience, the device will be available starting February 10th.

Source: Engadget

Amazon gives Macmillan the price it wants

Macmillan back on the Kindle.Following a very public feud over ebook pricing, Amazon has caved to Macmillan, giving the publisher it’s desired $14.99 price point for ebooks. The switch came after Macmillan threatened to pull all future publications from Amazon’s Kindle Store if it wasn’t given flexibility with regard to price.

Amazon announced the news to its customers with the following statement:

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!

Thank you for being a customer.

I can’t help but feel Amazon is making an irrelevant appeal to the Kindle consumer base. By and large these will be people with more money to spend on books, considering they’ve dropped a couple hundred bucks up front to gain access to the titles. If they really want one of the books, would the consumer base really not buy because of a $15 price tag, one that’s still far cheaper than the hardback option? Probably not.

As a writer, I’m reassured to see publishers taking the reins on this one.

Source: Amazon

Amazon pulls Macmillan ebooks

iBook Store.At some point yesterday Amazon pulled any ebooks from publisher Macmillan due to a pricing dispute, according to the New York Times. Apparently Macmillan wanted to raise prices from $9.99 to $15 and Amazon didn’t approve.

You might remember the same thing happening as iTunes was starting to get its legs. Apple used its massive marketshare to strong arm media companies to the $.99 price point, which most everyone felt was too low. Obviously that model has worked out in Apple’s favor, if not in the favor of most record labels, a few of which were able to strike more flexible deals.

There is one major difference – Macmillan has somewhere to go. Apple is just about to open the iBook Store for its new iPad, which, in all likelihood, is going to outsell the Kindle by quite a bit. Most estimates put the Kindle’s installed base around 3 million. The iPad could easily have that by the end of this year.

I would be pretty surprised, though, if Jobs was willing to give Amazon the price advantage in the ebook war.

Source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/29/amazon-pulls-macmillan-books-over-e-book-price-disagreement/

Nook won’t be home for holidays

Barnes & Noble Nook.If you didn’t pre-order your Nook, you won’t be seeing a holiday arrival. Barnes & Noble announced today that it had sold through the initial order and wouldn’t have more before the holidays are out.

“While we increased production based on the high consumer interest, we’ve sold out of our initial Nook allotment available for delivery before the holidays,” said a company statement. It’s not a huge delay – any order placed from today forward will be filled on January 4th. Anyone who pre-orders up to that date will receive a holiday certificate. Sometimes those are the best gifts. Right when you thought the festivities were over there’s a package on your doorstep.

B&N announced the delay after Sony did the same for its “Daily Edition” ereader yesterday. Despite the high price of ebooks and still limited functionality, ereaders seem to be one of the hottest items on the world’s gift list. Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle DX are both in stock and ship immediately.

Source: Reuters

Wrong Amazon, Get Grounded from Books

The Amazon KindleAs I mentioned in an earlier post, I had fairly trusting parents as a kid. They were in touch, aware of the nuances of my youthful existence including my strongest likes and dislikes. The unfortunate side effect here was an exacting system of punishment should I stray too far from the path of reason. I spent plenty of time grounded, relegated to my room with a few cleaning projects and a stack of books to keep me busy. Even at my worst offense, though, my parents never considered taking the books away.

That’s exactly the type of punishment you’ll receive if you lose face in the eyes of Almighty Amazon. Get your account suspended and you lose the ability to manage your ebooks and worse, buy new ones. An Amazon user named Ian recently had his account suspended for too many returns and subsequently found his Kindle had been crippled. The ownership (or lack thereof) concerning Kindle titles and books for other electronic readers is old news, but this is the first we’ve seen a company dole out extraneous punishment for account-level offenses. Ian has since had his account reinstated but with one major caveat: screw up again and it’s no books for you!

Source: MobileRead