Amazon Customers Debate Macmillan Price Fight

By Jason Boog Comment

11gEvSNO43L._SL150_.jpgOver the weekend, Amazon (AMZN) temporarily halted the direct sale of books published by Macmillan in order to express “strong disagreement” over the publisher’s request for higher eBook prices. Here’s an excerpt from the company’s statement saying they will “capitulate” to Macmillan’s prices: “Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book.”

Macmillan CEO John Sargent spoke out in a statement: “Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99. At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99. E books will almost always appear day on date with the physical edition. Pricing will be dynamic over time.”

What do you think? Meanwhile, some Amazon customers continue to boycott Kindle books priced higher than $9.99. GalleyCat looked at the Amazon Kindle forums, trying to gauge what Amazon customers thought. We’ve collected a range of opinions below.

Pamela wrote: “I am not in the habit of supporting bullies and will forever refrain from purchasing any book published by Macmillan [heretofore know as ‘the bully’] or any of its divisions. I vote with my money and they just lost my vote.”

ScottBooks argued the opposite: “I believe $14.99 is reasonable. It’s a heckuva lot less than what I paid for new hardcovers. (And I get to read them on Kindle!) People who waited for paperbacks can wait for the cheaper eBook edition. You offer them for sale and we’ll decide whether or not to buy them.”

Mabalacat added this point: “If they want higher prices then it is time for them to provide quality formatting. Not just quickly scanned with no effort to fix the OCR errors. The frequent formatting errors would no longer be acceptable.”

K. Landow disagreed: “You should be more concerned about Amazon’s tactics. Why shouldn’t a publisher–who has made the financial commitment and cultivated a project–be able to set their own prices? If you made dog food, widgets, or moon pies do you want your biggest customer telling you what YOUR terms of business should be? No, I didn’t think so.”

It is important to note that Macmillan books are still not available directly from Amazon, as you can see by following links to John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War or William Poundstone’s Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value.