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Old 06-23-2009, 11:24 AM   #1
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Publisher Backlash Against Amazon

I am a lifelong mystery fan (especially the Golden Age stuff) - and since acquiring my Kindle have been emailing publishers that I currently buy pbooks from to see if they have any plans to offer electronic versions.

Here is the reply I received from Rue Morgue Press today:

"No plans to do so. There isn't much out there other than Amazon's Kindle (and Sony Reader) and we have rejected offers from Amazon, as of course Kindle is a proprietary property and so by letting them do it means that we give them an advantage over all the other bookstores. In fact, we're boycotting the World Mystery Convention because they're allowing Amazon to make a Kindle presentation."

Several aspects of this reply strike me as sad. One, they are aware of the existence of only 2 readers. Second, the continuing battle between Amazon's proprietary business model and smaller publishers. Three, the effect of publisher boycotts on the future availability of classic mystery titles still under copyright for readers that are moving to eBooks. Of particular interest to me are: Ngaio Marsh, Elizabeth Daly, Dorothy Sayers (two Wimsey titles are now PD), and Gladys Mitchell.

I will forward answers as I get them from other publishers.

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Old 06-23-2009, 11:28 AM   #2
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Why don't you suggest that they open their own store or sell through Fictionwise? This would bypass their complaints.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:30 AM   #3
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I would suggest mailing them the link to MobileRead, and suggesting they read thru for a while so that they can take the blinders off...........
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:33 AM   #4
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I have done both of these suggestions (introduced them to Mobile Read & to the Fictionwise sites) - and am waiting for their reply.
I strongly suggested adopting a DRM-free format for maximum marketability.

Last edited by poohbear_nc; 06-23-2009 at 11:36 AM.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:33 AM   #5
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I would suggest mailing them the link to MobileRead, and suggesting they read thru for a while so that they can take the blinders off...........
Ooh. Even better.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:40 AM   #6
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Here's the reply from Crippen & Landrau:

"No, I'm sorry but we prefer books as books -- covers, texts, fonts, everything (including even the delightful smell).

Crippen & Landru"

Rather a JKR view of ebooks?

I will also invite them to visit Mobile Read - to meet readers that appreciate books in all forms.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
Here's the reply from Crippen & Landrau:

"No, I'm sorry but we prefer books as books -- covers, texts, fonts, everything (including even the delightful smell).

Crippen & Landru"

Rather a JKR view of ebooks?

I will also invite them to visit Mobile Read - to meet readers that appreciate books in all forms.
Well, THERE is an intelligent response. Lets not even look at the opportunities out there. Lets not realize that paper books and ebooks can co-exist.

Lets just bury our heads in the sand and let the world go by.

Idiots.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:55 AM   #8
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Are they one of your high-priced sell 400 only collectible type mobs?
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:56 AM   #9
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Apart from being luddites and fetishistic sniffers, of course. ;-)

But people like that (and business models, I guess) seem to be just as interested in producing the object as getting the content actually out to people.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:58 AM   #10
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Are they one of your high-priced sell 400 only collectible type mobs?
No - but they do have a very small catalog in print - and issue only 4-6 new titles per year. They publish older classic stuff (John Dickson Carr) and newer authors writing in the older style (Peter Lovesey). Mostly in paperback editions.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poohbear_nc View Post
I am a lifelong mystery fan (especially the Golden Age stuff) - and since acquiring my Kindle have been emailing publishers that I currently buy pbooks from to see if they have any plans to offer electronic versions.

Here is the reply I received from Rue Morgue Press today:

"No plans to do so. There isn't much out there other than Amazon's Kindle (and Sony Reader) and we have rejected offers from Amazon, as of course Kindle is a proprietary property and so by letting them do it means that we give them an advantage over all the other bookstores. In fact, we're boycotting the World Mystery Convention because they're allowing Amazon to make a Kindle presentation."

Several aspects of this reply strike me as sad. One, they are aware of the existence of only 2 readers. Second, the continuing battle between Amazon's proprietary business model and smaller publishers. Three, the effect of publisher boycotts on the future availability of classic mystery titles still under copyright for readers that are moving to eBooks. Of particular interest to me are: Ngaio Marsh, Elizabeth Daly, Dorothy Sayers (two Wimsey titles are now PD), and Gladys Mitchell.

I will forward answers as I get them from other publishers.

I think this is just a cop out on their behalf. It's just "in" to bash on Amazon.
  • First off if their criticism of Amazon also applies to SONY.
  • Second if their issue is with Amazon, why haven't they offered published eBook on the SONY device or other distributiors like overdrive, Mobipocket, Microsoft, Adobe.

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Old 06-23-2009, 12:09 PM   #12
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I think it's the "old fogey/grandfather" syndrome.

Meaning they like the way things are.
Don't rock the boat.
It's worked for a hundred years, so no reason it shouldn't still work just as well today. Why should we change?
It's too much of a bother.

Choose one, or add your own.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:16 PM   #13
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I'm not surprised that even a publisher is unaware of the variety of e-book readers out there. As forum participants we know the options, but e-books are still rather rare, and Kindle is perceived as the market leader and gets the lion's share of press right now.

It's a bit surprising that the publisher is so extreme that they will boycott a convention because Amazon is doing a Kindle presentation. However there are a lot of Luddites in almost any industry, and a small publisher might find it a bit onerous to hire staff to prep e-books, particularly if margins are already thin. I believe they might also need to negotiate with the authors (and/or their estates) for e-book publishing rights; even if the authors etc are receptive, that still incurs staff and legal costs that a small publisher might not want to deal with.

(It's also possible that Amazon may have rubbed this publisher the wrong way via things like strong-arming them to use BookSurge for POD.)

Otherwise the objection seems a bit silly, as I am not aware that Amazon demands exclusive sales rights for the e-books it sells. I.e. this publisher ought to be able to sell their books via Amazon, Sony, Fictionwise and so forth without restriction.

I don't think this will lead to the demise of this particular publisher though -- e-books may be "hot" right now, but it's not a huge market yet. Hopefully they'll have time to come around of their own accord.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:54 PM   #14
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What's sad is that when publishers like this refuse to offer eBooks, other "unofficial" sources are more than happy to step in and do so. In the end, it's the authors who suffer.

Maybe it would be a good idea to contact the authors you like and suggest to them that it would be beneficial to switch to a publisher with business models more in line with the current century?
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:06 PM   #15
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What's sad is that when publishers like this refuse to offer eBooks, other "unofficial" sources are more than happy to step in and do so. In the end, it's the authors who suffer.

Maybe it would be a good idea to contact the authors you like and suggest to them that it would be beneficial to switch to a publisher with business models more in line with the current century?
But that's my problem - the Golden Age authors still under copyright protection are - obviously dead - and their works are being flogged by these ignorant publishers.
I've had success emailing living authors (recently Martha Grimes) - who are actively interested in ebooks - more sales & more money for them. Our emails to them give authors ammunition to use with their publishers.
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