Article starts out railing against the evils of Amazon, but then seems to recall something...

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Summary: Hatred of Amazon seems to be a primary driving factor to those who are taking Apple's side, even those who don't want to take Apple's side, but sometimes when someone who has their own irons in the fire writes an article, they have to lead up to the third options.

BLOT: (15 Apr 2012 - 02:06:35 PM)

Article starts out railing against the evils of Amazon, but then seems to recall something...

Smashword's founder, Mark Coker, describes the DoJ's anti-collusion suit as a "dark day" and then proceeds to describe the same basic arguments and statistics that you see everywhere: Amazon had 90% of the market1, the level playing field meant more people could compete [though it begs questions of enforced normalcy's impact on actual competition], and, as usual, manages to overlook the "You can't let anyone charge less than what you let us charge" aspect of the whole deal [which is going to be the hardest button to button in Apple's defense, almost assuredly]. It manages to avoid, I think [I cannot recall reading it] the standard muck about how "You can't read Kindle books on other devices"2 which is bandied around by the sort of people who, I suspect, might not use ebooks if they haven't noticed the same being true of iBooks and/or the Nook or any of the others bought in-ereader-centric-store, as well.

The only real misstep, I feel, in this article, is that Coker says that Amazon was selling ebooks at a loss, which seems ludicrous, even though there has been claims made to that effect, based on people not in the complete know but only the partial. While I have no doubt that some companies did charger greater than $10 and Amazon sold them at the same flat rate, there were likely companies that charged far less than that, and by "likely" I mean there were obviously companies who charged less than that, and so claims of "On every ebook sold" is tossing the baby with the bathwater, to a degree, to try and push a point.

At any rate, what I found humorous was reading an article in which a company founder whose company's primary claim to fame is to be a whole other pricing model for ebooks was coming across really either/or: either Amazon's method wins or the Agency model wins. Then, he about faces, and starts saying that, "Yes, the big publishers charge to much, but prices are coming down at Smashwords!" [unfortunately, he uses this as proof that prices are coming down across the board on ebooks, which I don't know if that is true or not]. And then moves on to talk about how the big pubs pay authors poverty wages, and that the tragic outcome of this anti-trust suit might be regulation that stops indie booksellers from dictating their own prices [strangely incongruent with standing up for Apple's decision to set the price around the Apple store]. And oh, by the way, this entire article was largely a funnel to get you to read about how awesome the 100,000 ebooks at Smashwords across 40,000 authors might be.

Government regulation bad! Traditional publishing models bad! Amazon bad! Smashwords good!

As a person who gets maybe half of my ebooks from non-Amazon sources (even though I read most on a Kindle and/or Kindle for Mac, excepting my DriveThru RPG PDFs that would likely overwhelm the Kindle's pdf renderer), I kind of wish he had just went, "Whether big pubs dictate the publishing market, or Amazon, the reader and author will be the loser, how about THIS solution?" rather than spouting more of the same statistics and then talking about how they do not matter.

1: I am unsure what exactly the statistic means; 90% of sales, 90% of money, 90% of ereaders, or 90% of customers - none of which indicates the other three being true as well - but I assume they meant either 90% of money and/or 90% of ereaders. However, articles from right before the agency model snapped into place hint that it was units "sold". Since there were a number of ereaders and stores in place, I would guess that number to be high, but have no real way of knowing.

2: Which is untrue, but you can't read DRM'd Kindle books without a Kindle app of some kind, whether it be Kindle for Mac or etc etc.



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