A bitter pricing row between Amazon and the publishing industry intensified this weekend as the online retailer stripped books from Macmillan, including Hilary Mantel's Man Booker prizewinner, Wolf Hall, from its website in the US.
The drastic move, which could be followed around the world including in the UK, followed tense talks between the two parties over the price of ebooks last week. Fresh from a deal to become one of a handful of publishers in Apple's new iBookstore, Macmillan sharpened its demands on Amazon to help ensure the "long-term viability and stability of the digital book market".
The world's biggest online retailer and home of the Kindle ebook store and reading device has long been under attack from publishers for selling digital books at $9.99 (£6.25) a title, which they argue risks undermining hard copies. Apple, which is potentially providing Amazon's biggest ebook challenge yet with the iPad, is expected to allow publishers more freedom to set their own prices.
From the Guardian.
More coverage at the NY Times blogs.
There seems to be a lot of concern about the e-book pricing strategy. Some, including perhaps Macmillan, are arguing that Amazon is making so much money from its Kindle reader that it can afford to lose money on books, whereas publishers like Macmillan obviously can't. So Amazon is striking back by removing buy buttons from new products (but allowing people to buy the books used, which gives the publisher no income).
Q: What price does an 800-lb gorilla charge for e-books?
A: Any price he wants to.
Would this be a good time to point out that Barnes and Noble online is now offering all buyers its members' discount?
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