>I’m perplexed by Amazon’s statement about their showdown with Macmillan, where, after pulling that publisher’s print- and e-books from Amazon.com, they (paradoxically) go on to defend the free market as the best friend to the little guy:
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. (from the Kindle discussion board)
So the idea is that if a book from Macmillan costs too much, a reader will choose a less expensive book instead. Really? Is that how we buy books? I can see taking a risk on a book that is cheap (the top five Kindle best “sellers” are not cheap, they are free) but I can’t see wanting to read, say, Finger Lickin’ Fifteen, and settling for something else because Amazon wasn’t selling it (the situation now) or because it cost more than some other book. I do understand the bookseller’s reluctance to allow publishers to set prices (although I also kind of wish I was back in Germany, where book-discounting is verboten, thus allowing independent stores to compete) but I’m not buying its logic. Unless–the reading culture of e-books becomes a completely different thing from that of print books, where you don’t care so much about reading the new Janet Evanovich as you do for reading whatever the hot e-book du jour is, whose price might only be a buck.