Amazon Concede To Macmillan on Ebook Dispute

Amazon has responded to John Sargent’s open letter on Publishers Marketplace and conceded the ground to Macmillan allowing them to price e-books on Amazon at $14.99 to $12.99. However it is still unclear when Amazon will restore the buy buttons on Macmillan’s catalogue that were ‘temporarily’ removed over the weekend.
In a statement Amazon said:
“Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the “big six” publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don’t believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative.

Kindle is a business for Amazon, and it is also a mission. We never expected it to be easy!

Thank you for being a customer.”
While Macmillian may have won-out the standoff, it is highly significant that Amazon’s statement was directed at customers, whereas Macmillan’s statement from John Sargent on Publishers Marketplace was directed at the industry.
1-0 for Macmillan on the strength of publishers…
0-1 for Amazon on their discernment to realize the longer battle is about what the customer wants. That said, too much more of Amazon using the nefarious hand of Big Brother to reach into customer’s Kindle and remove files could end up blowing up in their faces. (reports from Richard Curtis  on over the weekend suggest Kindle users with Macmillan titles experienced files going missing!)  

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