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Steve Jobs has made a deal with Rupert Murdoch, which may end the days of cheap e-books from Amazon.  (Source: Reuters)
Enjoy $9.99 bestsellers while you can, following the Macmillan concession, everyone wants more out of Amazon

As we predicted, the recent concession by Amazon.com in terms of electronic book pricing to “big six” publisher Macmillan opened the floodgates leading other top publishers to demand more.  

Amazon.com's electronics books have many downsides -- the potential to lose your book eventually due to compatibility, ownership concerns, and dependency on battery life of the device being used.  They also have significant upsides -- a lot of classic works are available for free, you can transport 1,000s of books in a single bag and it's much easier to locate your books.  However, the biggest advantage of all was pricing.  Whereas hardcover best sellers typically retail for $15 to $25 on Amazon.com, best-sellers have been available in e-book form for the bargain rate of $9.99.

Macmillan recently won in a battle with Amazon to raise those prices.  Amazon has agreed to raise the price of Macmillan 
New York Times bestsellers to $12.99, or in most cases, $14.99.  

Now Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul who owns HarperCollins books -- another big six publisher -- is demanding a price bump of his own.  In a conference call Tuesday, he complained, "We don't like the Amazon model of selling everything at $9.99.  They pay us the wholesale price of $14 or whatever we charge.  But I think it really devalues books and it hurts all the retailers of the hard cover books."

Murdoch commented that he was looking to renegotiate News Corp's deal with Amazon and says that Amazon has responded that it is "ready to sit down with us again."

HarperCollins Books publishes such bestselling authors as Michael Crichton and Janet Evanovich.

Besides the Macmillan concession, another factor driving up prices is new competition from Apple.  Apple recently debuted its iPad tablet computer.  While its name has been the bunt of many jokes, curiosity about the new device is high.  Apple looks to use the device to become a major competitor to Amazon and second-place Sony in the electronic books arena.  

Apple already has a deal in place with Murdoch.  He comments, "Apple, in its agreement with us, which is not been disclosed in detail, does allow for a variety of slightly higher prices."

It appears that the final blows are being struck that will ultimately spell the end of cheap e-books.  Will that hurt the format's popularity?  Or will customers stomach the changes?  That remains to be seen in coming months.



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RE: meh
By FishTankX on 2/4/2010 1:14:45 AM , Rating: 2
There is NOTHING like drinking home roasted coffee 48-72 hours after it's been roasted. The sensory experience is divine. This *used* to be the standard way of doing things, back in early america. The advent of freeze dried, packaged coffee, and later, instant, completely fubared people's perceptions of what coffee should taste like.

It doesn't matter how good an experience is, the desire for convenience is a powerful motivating factor, no matter how wonderful the experience it's emulating is.


RE: meh
By Griswold on 2/4/2010 7:31:11 AM , Rating: 2
What a silly comparison. Downloading an e-book (which you likely wont be able to read again in a couple years or decades let alone pass it on to your kids and grandkids if its in a proprietary format) is only faster but no more convenient than ordering a real book online, sent directly to your doorstep.

Argument dismissed.


RE: meh
By elgueroloco on 2/4/2010 6:48:32 PM , Rating: 3
What a silly argument. There is far, far more to the convenience of an e-book than the process of buying it. For one, how about bookshelves/storage space? How much does a good bookcase cost? If you want a nice one, you can easily pay the cost of a Kindle for enough bookshelf to store 100 books. Then you'd have to pay higher prices for those books to fill the shelf. 1 Kindle will hold 1500 books. Most people don't have room for that many books in their house. A kindle can fit in a single desk drawer.

Can you carry your entire library of paper books around with you? No. How about college? Tell me which you find more convenient: carrying 6 large textbooks around in a backpack that weighs 40 lbs, or having them all on a 3-lb netbook that you can also take notes and do all your homework on.

Let's say you're in a technical trade that involves going out to job sites (e.g. electrician or anything involving bldg code). I think it would be really convenient to have technical references all stored in a small, lightweight device rather than carry them all with you in bulky paper form. How about a mechanic? Mechanics do not have room in their garage for 100's of Chilton's manuals, but they could store every one ever made in 1 kindle, which they do have room for. It would also take them far, far less time to look up the manual they need, allowing them to be much more productive.

I could go on and on, but I think I've gotten the point across.

Dismissal dismissed.


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