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Old 02-12-2010, 08:21 AM   #1
LCF
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Why Macmillan was banned from Amazon (T. Buckell's thoughts)

A very detailed blog entry

Most of you probably know that Amazon banned Macmillan and all its autors from its website. What you will find above is a very, very long analysis of the situation, written by a Macmillan author (Tobias Buckell), as he sees it.

Last edited by LCF; 02-12-2010 at 01:57 PM. Reason: added author's name and "as he sees it"
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:11 AM   #2
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Eh, it's one of the three major attacks on Amazon by a MacMillan author from a couple weeks ago, the other two are Charlie Stross, and John Scalzi. They're all suitably upset that their livelihood is impacted by the game of chicken is played by their publisher and their single largest retailer.

In some ways, I'm really surprised that these guys were so gung-ho in defending MacMillan. MacMaillan has never released ebook editions of Charlie Stross' series, and has been pricing their ebooks well above mass market paperback prices, so MacMillan's been sabotoging these authors with the millions of people who have ebook readers.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:16 AM   #3
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Thanks for the Bucknell link. I'm one of those people who downloaded the free copy of Crystal Rain. I didn't like the style so never purchased the book or the followups, but I expect Bucknell understood that his writing was not for everyone.

Like Bucknell, I will immediately buy the hardcover version of an author whose writing style I really like, such as David Weber. But my tastes are esoteric and tend to be expensive -- nonfiction outweighs fiction by 3:1. This week alone I bought $125 worth of hardcovers and 2 weeks ago spent close to $200 on hardcovers, but in that same time frame bought no ebooks. Why? Because I really wanted the hardcovers and there hasn't been much to interest me in ebooks at a price I was willing to pay. (Perhaps I should elaborate a little: Except for a few favorite authors, I buy fiction only in ebook form. I consider fiction generally to be read once then throwaway. I never by "bestelling" fiction. Consequently, I am unwilling to spend more than a few dollars on an ebook.)

I think Bucknell has the right of the argument but I doubt many of the more vocal ebookers will agree.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:22 AM   #4
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I actually found it to be a pretty good post and if you read to the end you'll find the author believes prices will eventually fall as ebooks move to the mainstream. He basically says let the market decide what the value is.

I think the big challenge is that for publishers this is still very small business with some incremental cost associated with it and the challenge is the transition from the old model to the new. I can't believe the publishers seriously feel they can stop the transition, but they do struggle in how to make that transition.

Also, ereaders are still a relatively small market with many people not wanting to touch one. My wife was one of these, but is coming around to seeing how it's actually pretty good for some types of reading. As more people adopt ereaders we'll see a changing strategy from the publishers, but who knows how long that will take. If I were them I would be driving in that direction as fast as possible and looking for ways to increase adoption to get ahead of the curve. In all business, history has shown that those who adopt change or cannibalize their own business tend to succeed while those who wait for it to happen struggle.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:45 AM   #5
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Thanks for the link! Always interested in what the Authors directly affected by all this think about the situation.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Buckell.

Because the same tired arguments are just going to mark you off my "buy new" list at this point. I am yet to hear a good reason why an effective resumption of the Net Book Agreement for ebooks by some publishers is a remotely good idea.
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Buckell.

Because the same tired arguments are just going to mark you off my "buy new" list at this point. I am yet to hear a good reason why an effective resumption of the Net Book Agreement for ebooks by some publishers is a remotely good idea.
DawnFalcon, that one good thing about reading dead authors...they don't say anything to tick off the customer....
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Old 02-12-2010, 11:59 AM   #8
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Yes, unfortunately the scifi backlist is rarely available (legally) in eBook form. The New Era, let alone the Golden Age. I do have a considerable collection of those books, but it's come from browsing charity and second hand bookshops since I was in my early teens.

(And a good part of what I do have in ebook form is from, er, Baen)

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Old 02-12-2010, 12:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bgalbrecht View Post
Eh, it's one of the three major attacks on Amazon by a MacMillan author from a couple weeks ago, the other two are Charlie Stross, and John Scalzi. They're all suitably upset that their livelihood is impacted by the game of chicken is played by their publisher and their single largest retailer.

In some ways, I'm really surprised that these guys were so gung-ho in defending MacMillan. MacMaillan has never released ebook editions of Charlie Stross' series, and has been pricing their ebooks well above mass market paperback prices, so MacMillan's been sabotoging these authors with the millions of people who have ebook readers.
And this is one of these strange misrepresentations of these posts.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:02 PM   #10
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DawnFalcon, that one good thing about reading dead authors...they don't say anything to tick off the customer....
Plus when they are dead its easier for Publishers like Random House to declare that those old print contracts apply to future eBooks as well.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/bu.../13ebooks.html
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:03 PM   #11
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*spits* at Random House. Yes, there's the minor issue I won't be buying anything RH put out from their backlist either ><
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bgalbrecht View Post
Eh, it's one of the three major attacks on Amazon by a MacMillan author from a couple weeks ago, the other two are Charlie Stross, and John Scalzi. They're all suitably upset that their livelihood is impacted by the game of chicken is played by their publisher and their single largest retailer.

In some ways, I'm really surprised that these guys were so gung-ho in defending MacMillan. MacMaillan has never released ebook editions of Charlie Stross' series, and has been pricing their ebooks well above mass market paperback prices, so MacMillan's been sabotoging these authors with the millions of people who have ebook readers.
I was a little surprised at their enthusiasm for defending macmillan as well. But given that Macmillan represents their livelihood and support...I guess that was probably the only way they felt they COULD go.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:34 PM   #13
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I think that this is actually a much bigger issue than Tobias realises. What Macmillan have done here is to use the leverage of their deal with Apple to force Amazon into the agency model for ebooks.

Do you really think that they (or any other publisher for that matter) are going to let it rest there?

Now that they have gotten Amazon to agree to the agency model for ebooks why not make them agree to it for the traditional print media also? Many years ago in the UK we had a price fixing system called the Net Book Agreement. This meant that the publisher put a sticker price on a book, and that was the price at which it had to be sold, whether through a large chain bookstore (who could negotiate big discounts) or by a small town independent bookstore (who couldn't).

The small booksellers loved the agreement as it enabled them to compete with the large stores on price. However our government's competition rules meant that the publishers had to abandon the policy ann over the years the large booksellers (both bricks and mortar and the e-tailers like Amazon) have used their power to negotiate bigger and bigger discounts from the publishers. That, by the way, means smaller and smaller levels of income for the authors.

I will watch with great interest to see what happens to both print and ebooks over the next few years.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:39 PM   #14
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The problem with bloggers, even those who write long posts, is that they are not necessarily very informed writers. I can't really say I found the post very informative, other than of the author's opinion, which didn't really interest me.
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Old 02-12-2010, 12:45 PM   #15
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A very detailed blog entry

Most of you probably know that Amazon banned Macmillan and all its autors from its website. What you will find above is a very, very long analysis of the situation, written by a Macmillan author (Tobias Buckell).

That is a very misleading title, I thought there was going to be some real hard data presented, instead it's a MacMillian author's account.

I didn't bother reading the blog, but I'll use my ESP abilities to summarize the blog and say the author will justify the higher price, defend Macmillian, and pooh-pooh on Amazon.

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