Amazon has pulled from sale
books published by Macmillan. This includes books by - amongst many, many others - authors including Ken Bruen's books published by Minotaur and Duane Swierczynski
This is the first time I've seen such clear proof that adherence to publishing ethics (as per the guidelines of organizations such as MWA), quality of product, and consumer demand are completely irrelevant in book sales and distribution.
Actually, I find myself wondering if Amazon is doing this not so much because of Macmillan, but because of the new iPad, which has been called a Kindle killer by some.
One thing that's clear to me is that this isn't about consumer rights and protecting consumers. This is about control. I say let publishers decide how much their ebooks should list for, and let shoppers decide whether or not they want to pay the price tag.
But also let shoppers decide what device they want to read their books on - don't force them to buy your product.
I've heard a lot of whispers over the past few years, about the fear that in the future we'll see fewer books published, just the mega sellers. Amazon's actions have convinced me that day may be closer than we think. As a major bookseller, pulling thousands of products from their inventory is clearly irrelevant to them. Kindle sales are reported as in the millions
. This is what Amazon is making their money off of, and they're using controlled pricing of publisher products in order to entice consumers to buy their big ticket item.
The questions are, what happens when we reach market saturation? With other electronic devices prices eventually decline. Once Kindle sales plateau, where will Amazon turn to replace that income?
I see two primary options. One is through the sales of the books for Kindle, which would mean they'd raise the prices, and consumers who'd already purchased expensive electronic devices to be able to read that way would have little choice but to pay the increase.
The other is by replacing the Kindle with an updated version with a few new bells and whistles, with a slight change in code that rendered new books inaccessible on the old Kindle, thus forcing Kindle readers to replace their Kindles.
Neither sounds like protecting the rights of consumers, does it?
This isn't about my rights as a reader, or the rights of so many friends of mine whose books have been pulled because of this pissing contest. This is about Amazon cornering the market, pure and simple.
John Scalzi also has a post
on the subject, which is well worth the read.