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Old 03-12-2010, 05:18 PM   #1
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Is the new 'agency' system going to change your buying habits?

I read the latest from the MacMillan people on the switch to the 'agency' model and they specifically address retailer discounts: they will not be allowed. MacMillan will set the price and everyone will abide by it. I have seen some speculating here and elsewhere on what this means for places like Fictionwise which offer club discounts etc. I am wondering if anyone is thinking this will change their buying habits.

For me, I think it will mean that I will patronize Fictionwise MUCH less frequently. The eReader format is pokey and really a pain to convert. I have put up with it because sometimes they offer discounts, or micropay rebates, to such an extent that it is worth it to me to get it from them (for example if I have something else I want to get with the micropay). But if that advantage is now going to disappear and the book will cost the same no matter from whom I buy it, then I will buy it somewhere they have the epub, which is MUCH less of a hassle to liberate, and is more future-safe because many devices will read it directly and it converts with much less manual labour into mobipocket for the Kindle.

The big winner for me will probably be Kobo as they sell in Canadian prices. If a new release comes out and I want it, I will probably look there first.

I may still use Fictionwise for the occasional multiformat purchase (although I have pretty much stopped buying random books of those because many of them are terrible). I do enjoy my multiformat magazine subscriptions and would like to keep them. But really the only incentive to deal with the eReader format has been the Fictionwise reward system, so I think they are really going to lose---from the standpoint of *me* as a customer---with this new system.
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:28 PM   #2
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I think retailers will still be free to operate loyalty schemes, which is essentially what the micropay system is. They just can't alter the headline price, which is what you're paying upfront.

Agency pricing is something that I hope will vanish, though - it's not good for the industry.
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Old 03-12-2010, 06:39 PM   #3
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:06 PM   #4
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Assuming more books I want will be priced higher than I'm willing to pay for approximately the next year, starting soon? I'll buy LOTS LESS books...maybe I'll get through some of my TBR pile.

Either that, or it's back to the usenet for bootleg copies (or the library for - gasp! - paper copies) until the prices are reasonable.
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:56 PM   #5
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Well, there are an awful lot of public domain classics I've never read along with those I've been meaning to re-read. My to-be-read queue has been too full of new authors and books because I've been able to find them at reasonable prices. If that ends I'll catch up on my queue and finally get to the classics. That should keep me busy for a few years. I'll intersperse those with new books from Baen and others who maintain decent prices.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:41 PM   #6
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I did not buy many eBooks before, and I will certainly NOT buy more after.

I still want rental.

Public Library, Gutenberg, Smashwords(yes, purchase) - will dominate my eBooks until.

Public Library, paper books borrowed from friends/family, and purchased used paperbacks will dominate my paper books.

Given the lack of rights and DRM, rental is a better fit anyway.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:49 PM   #7
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I'm going to wait and see the prices on the books I want when I want to buy them - and base my purchasing on that rather than the pricing model.
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:51 PM   #8
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What Lemurion said. Nobody seems to have considered the fact that, if Sargent is speaking straight, a lot of those e-books that are at hardcover price now might just come down to under $10 each as soon as the pricing model goes into effect.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:05 PM   #9
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It will be very interesting to watch -- and to see how this "agency model" gets past the "price fixing" laws. I seriously doubt the agency rules will prevent "customer loyalty" programs like micro pay. If anything, more sites will be resorting to such schemes as a way to lower price without "lowering the price".

I was in sympathy with the publishers over Amazon's "sell every NYT Bestseller for a loss" policy. It's one thing for a Wal-Mart or a Costco to buy a million Harry Potter books and sell them as a loss leader. It's another thing to have Amazon set the "value" of all books to $9.99.

I'm glad that Amazon caved because had they not, then ebooks would not be released until later -- like paperbacks. I like reading ebooks over hardbacks and like to have the OPTION to "buy now and pay more" or "wait and pay less".

But I'm not so sure how "every book seller is now an agent" thing is going to go over.

Lee
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:24 PM   #10
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I'm glad that Amazon caved because had they not, then ebooks would not be released until later -- like paperbacks. I like reading ebooks over hardbacks and like to have the OPTION to "buy now and pay more" or "wait and pay less".
Well, I've got news for you - e-versions of some newly-released titles are not being released concurrently at all.
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Old 03-12-2010, 10:05 PM   #11
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Well, I've got news for you - e-versions of some newly-released titles are not being released concurrently at all.
Which is something that Macmillan says will be solved (for their books at least) upon introduction of the agency model.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:36 PM   #12
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Well, I've got news for you - e-versions of some newly-released titles are not being released concurrently at all.
This is true, but it will only be relevant to the Macmillan situation if this holds for Macmillan books after March 31, when they are planning to implement the new model.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:32 AM   #13
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Which is something that Macmillan says will be solved (for their books at least) upon introduction of the agency model.
Not just Macmillan - Simon & Schuster is withholding releases as well.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:39 AM   #14
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I did not buy many eBooks before, and I will certainly NOT buy more after.

I still want rental.

Public Library, Gutenberg, Smashwords(yes, purchase) - will dominate my eBooks until.

Public Library, paper books borrowed from friends/family, and purchased used paperbacks will dominate my paper books.

Given the lack of rights and DRM, rental is a better fit anyway.
Don't expect any library ebooks for MacMillan titles. Sargent has already said in print that he's against them.
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Old 03-13-2010, 12:42 AM   #15
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Absolutely. If I am going to have to pay more, than I'm going to be a lot more particular about what I purchase. By extension I will probably focus more on works published by those that comprehend the digital medium.
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