Most of the internet buzz seems to lean toward Amazon having egg on its face today, with MacMillan triumphant, but here is a link to an interesting contrarian view from James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research (probably the premier research firm in the high tech industry):

http://paidcontent.org/article/419-in-amazon-vs.-macmillan-amazon-i...

Its main points are that: 

(1) Amazon wins in the short run because they will now be making instead of losing money on every book from MacMillan (and any other publishers dumb enough to follow that publisher's lead)

(2) Inter-publisher rivalry will drive down ebook prices to perhaps as low as $9.99 again. (Strangely, he doesn't mention simple market forces as a driver of the lower prices. Lower prices is what happens to artificially elevated prices in the absence of monopoly power and collusion.)

(3) Publishers will make less money in the long run and have less to offer authors, with the result that more authors will bolt their publishers for Amazon in the way Steven Covey, Martin Amis, Ian McEwan and now Paul Coelho have, giving Amazon the win in the next round too...

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It may happen that way. Much too early to tell, though.
Well, the big publishers are divisions of multi-nationals so they have no interest in "the long run," and in the real world there is never an absence of both monopoly and collusion. There's only the absence of court-admissable evidence.

Wow, I'm a cheery guy, eh?
Those are some good points. On the other hand John Scalzi makes some good points too: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2010/02/01/all-the-many-ways-amazon-so-v...
At the moment it looks like a push, with both sides still engaging in a bit of finger-pointing and victory-dancing. Much depends on whether the rest of the Big 6 follow suit, or whether they choose to adopt Amazon's model and try to compete with Macmillan on price. My guess is that with Apple now in the picture, publishers will want uniform ebook pricing across the board, at least for starters--and the Apple price at the moment is $14.99. I think for new releases and bestsellers that seems about right--you've got to give yourself room to discount the backlist, do promotions, etc. I think Amazon stands a good chance of losing its ebook pricing edge against Apple, and that's the product of a loss-leader strategy designed to sell a buttload of Kindles (see iPod/iTunes). If other publishers follow on, then Amazon will have to go back to the drawing board on marketing the Kindle, and it's hard to see how that would constitute a "win." For Macmillan, I'm guessing the aim had a lot to do with consistency and leveling the proverbial playing field, now that Apple has emerged as a player in the ebook market. The folks I've talked to there seem to feel that things have worked out as they'd hoped. So far, anyway.
I think the Macmillian/amazon fight is just the opening salvo in a much bigger brawl to come. And that brawl is going to center around royalty rights. Read this article. It says basically what I think is going to happe,

http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6717182.html?desc=topst
Maybe the future of publishing is the past. Back when Alfred A. Knopf was owned by a guy named Al Knopf and McClelland and Stewart was owned by a guy named Jack McClelland they sold books and had a very slim profit margin. Maybe 5% in a good year. When the Bertelsmans and Hachettes of the world bought up so many pubishing companies they expected 10% or more profit margins like they got out of their other businesses and like the MBAs all told them they could get.

But maybe publishing just can't generate those kinds of margins and these multi-nationals will get out of the business.

So maybe the future is companies like Hard Case Crime and Busted Flush and Bleak House and Poisoned Pen and Tyrus Books. None of them are becoming millionaires, but they're all putting out excellent books. I'm sure when the dust settles these guys will still be around.
Sounds good to me, but I don't think we're looking at a major contraction anytime soon. More likely the opposite. Ebooks! I hated them initially, but now I think it might just work out. Evidently the agents' association is pushing for a 50% standard authors' royalty on ebooks now, because they're so profitable. I like the sound of that, I do.
Gotta keep an open mind -- all around.

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