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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-02-03 15:10
Subject: [publishing] The quiet hours of Amazon
Security: Public
Tags:amazonfail, publishing
Marking the quiet time since Amazon's first, last, and so far only rather inept comments on the Macmillan pricing struggle.


[ Clock courtesy of @brandg. ]

And I will note per several comments from other folks that while Amazon is muffing the corporate PR war rather spectacularly, they seem to be winning the popular media war. Almost all the reporting I've seen draws from the Kindle Team letter in referencing a price increase without explaining that there's also a low-side price of $5.99 which is a significant decrease, nor bothering to explain the dynamic pricing model.

That's lazy reporting, and factually incorrect on the face of it, but what consumers are reading and hearing is "Macmillan tries to raise ebook prices on Amazon." So Amazon's deliberately flawed, self-serving narrative is winning in the popular media.

In other words, the continued silence may be a very subtle PR strategy indeed. More likely it's a quiet period while negotiations continue. Or possibly they've all turned into squid at Amazon HQ in Seattle. As the saying goes, never assign to malice subtlety what can be explained by stupidity.

Maybe Amazon is very, very smart in this PR strategy. Maybe they're just kind of lucky. Does it matter?

Meanwhile the silence of the Amazon continues

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Laura Anne Gilman: my job
User: suricattus
Date: 2010-02-03 23:19 (UTC)
Subject: a slightly different take...
Keyword:my job
My gut/experience on this is that Macmillan actually doesn't care what the public thinks. They got their explanation out to the agents and authors so they didn't have to deal with the yowls, and are continuing negotiations with the relevant parties. This is a long-term game to them, not a popularity contest. Readers may boycott for a week or a month, but when a book comes along that we want, do you really think, six months from now, Joe or Jane Reader is going to still hold a grudge, if the price is right?

[most of us don't notice who the publisher of any given author; the mechanism is mostly invisible]

Sucks deeply to be on the spot with a new book out from Macmillan, yeah. We're getting screwed. But that's (to the Big Players) collateral damage in a much larger war.



[edited, as usual, for typos]


Edited at 2010-02-03 11:22 pm (UTC)
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User: arkessian
Date: 2010-02-03 23:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Never underestimate a squid.. Can you keep all those arms in sight at the same time? And let us never forget, they made it into deep space before we did.
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Edward Greaves
User: temporus
Date: 2010-02-04 00:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And note that it's a false price increase, since Amazon never actually promised and didn't deliver on an absolute cap of $9.99. Many, many titles have come out at prices exactly in the range that Macmillan is talking about, right alongside the hardcovers. There's this false assumption that it's an across the board price control issue, and it's not. It's only about the best sellers. And always has been.
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User: beth_bernobich
Date: 2010-02-04 00:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, I had not known that. (One more strike against Amazon.)
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They Didn't Ask Me
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2010-02-04 03:48 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I, for one, am tired of lazy reporters. Take a quote, don't verify, don't check the other side, run with it. My God, have reporters adopted the Publish America model of vetting?

Dr. Phil
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houseboatonstyx
User: houseboatonstyx
Date: 2010-02-04 05:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
[[Almost all the reporting I've seen draws from the Kindle Team letter in referencing a price increase without explaining that there's also a low-side price of $5.99 which is a significant decrease, nor bothering to explain the dynamic pricing model.
That's lazy reporting, and factually incorrect on the face of it, but what consumers are reading and hearing is "Macmillan tries to raise ebook prices on Amazon." So Amazon's deliberately flawed, self-serving narrative is winning in the popular media.]]

I hate seeing that false impression prevail, lacking a simple statement of fact!

Otoh, Macmillan could have been more emphatic in their statement, or could have made a more clear statement since. So maybe as a commenter said, they don't care.
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barry_king
User: barry_king
Date: 2010-02-04 12:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I think you can sum up their behavior as
  1. Trying to get as many Kindles out of the warehouse as possible before the iPad becomes available by
  2. A half-witted attempt to sell their story to the online mob.
It's not that the journalists are lazy per se, they're just spending too much time on twitter without doing trad. journalism.

Problem is, there's always more consumers than producers, so my hat's off to you for getting the author's side out.
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