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Old 07-29-2019, 10:26 PM   #61
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Raise the price? It was Amazon that artificially lowered the price below wholesale. All book sellers put books on sale to bring in traffic. Amazon put the entire NYT's best seller list on permanent below wholesale sale. It was SUCH a deal that it was worth paying $400 for the Kindle reading devices.

The publishers SHOULD have launched a lawsuit. As such, Amazon's actions have merely gone without judgement.
What reason to sue did they have, though? It is not illegal to have loss leaders. It is the insistence on DRM that got the publishers to allow Amazon to take advantage of this. Especially since Amazon's DRM is incompatible with everybody else.
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Old 07-29-2019, 10:59 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by leebase View Post
Raise the price? It was Amazon that artificially lowered the price below wholesale. All book sellers put books on sale to bring in traffic. Amazon put the entire NYT's best seller list on permanent below wholesale sale. It was SUCH a deal that it was worth paying $400 for the Kindle reading devices.

The publishers SHOULD have launched a lawsuit. As such, Amazon's actions have merely gone without judgement.
Perhaps Amazon did not artificially lower the price. Perhaps the price was artificially high since it was artificially set high by an oligopoly in the absence of competition.
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:40 AM   #63
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You get no debate from me about book pricing being pretty much whatever. But the publishers had established a vibrant market for new books at $25-$30 retail....allowing sellers to give 25% to 40% off as standard practice. The wholesale price was $12.50 or so.

Amazon courting their own authors and selling books on the cheap....is a completely different thing than selling the best seller list at $9.99. It’s also different than having a book or two as loss leaders. Putting the entire NYT's best sellers as loss leaders would destroy the perceived value of a new book.

And it worked. Just listen to all here who scream that $14.99 for a new release book is highway robber when $25 for a new book never was.
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:51 AM   #64
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Could be part of their thought process is to make noise in the hopes that their visitors will be more likely to blame the publishers when the library doesn't have the products they want.
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Originally Posted by j.p.s View Post
They're probably stuck between the demands of publishers and the demands of patrons.
I'm not angry at the libraries. They're kind of caught between a rock and a hard place. I'm not really angry at the publishers either. They can do what they want. My borrowing (non-buying) habit is pretty well set now — and I don't mind waiting. Companies who fail to understand changing conditions and try to glom on to "the way things were" for too long, usually don't survive.
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Old 07-30-2019, 12:59 AM   #65
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Just listen to all here who scream that $14.99 for a new release book is highway robber when $25 for a new book never was.
It's always been highway robbery IMHO. I've been around for several decades, and I have hardly ever purchased a new release book. I would say "never" because I can't remember purchasing any, but there just had to be one here or there that I've forgotten about. So I'll say "hardly ever" to be on the safe side. My decision to wait for the mass market paperback offering to come out is because new release book prices have always been too high IMHO. I know other people will pay the price for a new release, and that's fine. It's their money. I just found no reason to spend mine in that manner.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:01 AM   #66
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You get no debate from me about book pricing being pretty much whatever. But the publishers had established a vibrant market for new books at $25-$30 retail....allowing sellers to give 25% to 40% off as standard practice. The wholesale price was $12.50 or so.

Amazon courting their own authors and selling books on the cheap....is a completely different thing than selling the best seller list at $9.99. It’s also different than having a book or two as loss leaders. Putting the entire NYT's best sellers as loss leaders would destroy the perceived value of a new book.

And it worked. Just listen to all here who scream that $14.99 for a new release book is highway robber when $25 for a new book never was.
Publishers were able to window and extract every cent of profit from a captive market void of competition. Nothing wrong with that. It was great for them whilst it lasted. But healthy competition from Amazon destroyed that particular business model. For my part, I say good riddance. The ability to window in this way was not some god-given right. Amazon turned a non-competitive market dominated by an oligopoly with resulting excessive prices into a competitive one. The traditional Publishers are finally learning to live with it and, as I have posted previously, are experimenting rationally with prices.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:02 AM   #67
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The publishers SHOULD have launched a lawsuit. As such, Amazon's actions have merely gone without judgement.
Which is not relevant to the big publisher's and Apple's decision to collude. I think it would be hard to show harm to Apple (who wasn't even selling books at the time) or to the big publishers, who were getting paid the full wholesale price for their eBooks. Their "problem" was that they (Apple and the big publishers) wanted to control retail prices, instead of letting Amazon do it.

But, if they thought there was a strong case against Amazon they should have brought a lawsuit to court instead of breaking the law with their end-run collusion decision. I've got a feeling they knew their case was too weak and, besides, they figured they were too big to be beaten in court. Not the first time Apple's tactics misfired or that they overestimated their lawyer's abilities.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:04 AM   #68
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Perhaps Amazon did not artificially lower the price. Perhaps the price was artificially high since it was artificially set high by an oligopoly in the absence of competition.
Good point. And I think a strong argument could be made that the big publisher's eBooks (which cost next to nothing to produce, stock and distribute) are overpriced.
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Old 07-30-2019, 01:26 AM   #69
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But, if they thought there was a strong case against Amazon they should have brought a lawsuit to court instead of breaking the law with their end-run collusion decision. I've got a feeling they knew their case was too weak and, besides, they figured they were too big to be beaten in court. Not the first time Apple's tactics misfired or that they overestimated their lawyer's abilities.
For Apple it was a win-win situation. A calculated risk to gain market share. Nobody was supposed to find out in the first place. If they found out they had to then win in court. And even if they did win in court (which at the end happened) all Apple had to do is pay a little bit of money. It doesn't hurt Apple much. The market share is worth more than what they paid for it, and they can afford it. If the court decided to embargo Apple from selling ebooks for a set time, that would have done real damage.
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Old 07-30-2019, 06:26 AM   #70
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...

As for the libraries they should say no.
Save the money going to MacMillan for other publishers or services.

There is no law saying MacMillan has to sell anything to libraries nor are libraries required to carry their books at all. If they (either side) feel so abused, just walk away.

...
+1 to this part, and it is what my library is doing.

It seems as though this could hurt the publishers authors? Long wait times for limited number of copies could drive readers to discover new authors of other publishers.
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:18 AM   #71
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Windowing seems like such a non-issue to me. First, it seems to imply a steady stream of new books, so that having to wait eight weeks means you need to go eight weeks without library books, which is silly. In any case, new books aren't released in a constant steady stream; there are seasons during which the books expected to be most popular are released at once.

Second, when I see a new book at Overdrive and my library has one copy with a long waiting list already, I know they will be buying more. So you get on the list and see your wait time decrease drastically once the purchases hit the system. I think libraries may play a game of waiting to assess demand before committing to purchases, which seems reasonable. Windowing will just make that inherent.

I know some here feel they must read a new book by a favorite author as soon as it's released and why not? But they buy it. Personally, I can only identify two types of books where it's important to read it right away. The first are topical books, especially about the political scene, where you want to be part of the conversation when it comes out and by waiting six months not only have you missed out on the chatter, it's old news. With that type of book, exhaustive news coverage of all the best bits makes it less compelling for me anyway. The other, extremely limited type of immediate must read, is such an overwhelmingly popular fiction book that it would be impossible to avoid being spoiled if you don't read it now and stay offline while you do it, too. The last Harry Potter book was like that; if GRRM ever came out with the next book in his saga, it would be another. Not saying various communities don't have others where you need to read the book right away or miss out on the squeeing, (maybe the next Outlander?), but there really can't be that many of them for any one person.

TL;DR: Go ahead, window. It won't affect me and I doubt it will affect most people.
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:37 AM   #72
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The only hardback books I have bought have been textbooks and Harry Potter. I paid through the nose for the first but bought the second on deep discounts for release day (5-7, didn't start until then). The price of hardbacks is outrageous, fortunately all my favorite authors are in paperback/ebook upon release.
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Old 07-30-2019, 08:42 AM   #73
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As for the libraries they should say no.
Save the money going to MacMillan for other publishers or services.

There is no law saying MacMillan has to sell anything to libraries nor are libraries required to carry their books at all. If they (either side) feel so abused, just walk away.

Making a big noise just to cave in at the end is demeaning.
Is it worthwhile for publishers to have their books in libraries at all? Amazon certainly has not felt the need to do so, and does not seem to be suffering thereby. Will MacMillan suffer if all libraries boycott even all of its books? It is a difficult question to answer. The main tangible loss will of course be the loss of the direct sales to the libraries. To what extent will this revenue loss be offset or exceeded by additional sales? Of course more intangible benefits are claimed to accrue to publishers from their library books. Things such as goodwill, discovery and the like. Are these in fact worthwhile? If so, I wonder why has Amazon not raced to make all of its imprint and KDP books available to libraries? In the absence of answers to at least some of these questions a boycott may prove counter-productive. For example, if MacMillan thought it was in its best interests not to deal with libraries and was only continuing to do so for historical reasons and fear of the public relations fallout of discontinuing, a boycott by libraries may well play right into its hands.
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Old 07-30-2019, 10:14 AM   #74
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For Apple it was a win-win situation. A calculated risk to gain market share. Nobody was supposed to find out in the first place. If they found out they had to then win in court. And even if they did win in court (which at the end happened) all Apple had to do is pay a little bit of money. It doesn't hurt Apple much. The market share is worth more than what they paid for it, and they can afford it. If the court decided to embargo Apple from selling ebooks for a set time, that would have done real damage.

It was a win/win because Apple didn't think they did anything wrong. They basically did the same thing with music. The publishers did get caught colluding, but Apple simply said, hey if you want to set the price, that's fine with us, just don't sell it to someone else for less, a fairly standard clause for such deals.

The decision caused major damage because Apple finally said, screw it, we are just going to stick with servicing existing Apple customers and not push the ebook store, thus removing a major competitor from the ebook market. Major win for Amazon, which is why they worked with the DOJ to make it happen that way.

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Old 07-30-2019, 10:30 AM   #75
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Is it worthwhile for publishers to have their books in libraries at all? Amazon certainly has not felt the need to do so, and does not seem to be suffering thereby. Will MacMillan suffer if all libraries boycott even all of its books? It is a difficult question to answer. The main tangible loss will of course be the loss of the direct sales to the libraries. To what extent will this revenue loss be offset or exceeded by additional sales? Of course more intangible benefits are claimed to accrue to publishers from their library books. Things such as goodwill, discovery and the like. Are these in fact worthwhile? If so, I wonder why has Amazon not raced to make all of its imprint and KDP books available to libraries? In the absence of answers to at least some of these questions a boycott may prove counter-productive. For example, if MacMillan thought it was in its best interests not to deal with libraries and was only continuing to do so for historical reasons and fear of the public relations fallout of discontinuing, a boycott by libraries may well play right into its hands.
I suppose the publishers may gain a few sales by having books in libraries. Although I am not someone who buys a lot of books (I stick with library books most of the time) I have occasionally bought other books by an author based on one I read from the library.
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