Can we assume you all were watching the SMACKDOWN between Amazon and Macmillan this past weekend? Good grief, major drama in the book world.
Here's the Reader's Respite Version:
Macmillan Publishers decides that they are sick and tired of big, bad Amazon only charging $9.99 for Macmillan e-books. Yes, Amazon pays the full asking price to Macmillan, but the publishing folks somehow got it in their heads that if Amazon is only charging $9.99 for an e-book, then consumers will start to think that $27.99 is too much to pay for a new hardcover book and sales will decrease.
We'll pause here and let you wrap your mind around that little gem.
So Amazon says, "Nope, we paid you guys full price for the e-book and we can sell it for whatever price we see fit." Macmillan threatens to pull their e-books from Amazon and take them over to Apple's new iKotex iPad, where Apple promises that they will sell e-books for at least $14.99. (Neener, neener, neeee-ner, says Apple.)
Then, BAM, it was smackdown time as Amazon beat Macmillan to the childish punch and pulled every, single Macmillan book (e-book and the hard copies) from Amazon.com. And that, my friends, was the smackdown heard 'round the world.
It didn't last long and Amazon capitulated to Macmillan today, putting all books back on sale and increasing the price point for Macmillan's e-books. Frankly, the whole hullabaloo was childish on both sides of the fence.
But it occurs to us: just because Macmillan's selling 'em for $14.99, doesn't mean e-book consumers will be buying. And that's up to each individual and their personal price threshold for an e-book. What bothered A Reader's Respite in all of this was this recurring thought:
Just how stupid do publishers think we are? So stupid that we would not realize that the cost that goes into a hardcover book is far, far more than what goes into an e-book? Really?
This whole brough-ha-ha is precisely what happened a few months back when several publishers and authors went on a kick to force mass retailers like Wal-Mart and Target into not offering hardcover books at a discount. They said it "influenced the consumer's expectations" of what a hardcover book should cost.
We're sensing the same argument being used with e-books these days. And we still don't think it holds water.