mythicalgirl: (stupid)
Supposedly Amazon gave up on Sunday and admitted (on the Kindle forum) that they will indeed eventually have to capitulate with Macmillan's pricing plan because they want to be able to bring these books to the world even if they think they cost too much.  Way to look out for the little guy.  As of today all Macmillan titles are still unavailable on Amazon.com in the US except through third party sellers.  It seems that while they want to be the champion of the people they aren't willing to sell the disputed works, even in dead tree form, until the whole kerfuffle gets worked out. 

I sent an e-mail to Amazon asking when they would be putting the Buy button back on the print versions, which it seems to me they could go ahead and still sell since a) the dispute is over e-books and b) they have copies taking up space in their distribution centers anyway.  The answer I received was that they would e-mail me when the titles were available again and to go read the thread on the Kindle forum for the latest information. 

I call shenanigans.  By removing the option to buy from all formats Amazon is the one who made this about more than just the damn Kindle but they are acting as the wronged party and doing all of their communication to their customers via the Kindle forums even when the customer clearly states that they are NOT a Kindle user. 

The whole thing makes me tired.  Despite the fact that half of my wishlist is currently unavailable I'm not really affected by this.  I didn't have any pending orders nor did I have any plans to order from them soon.  I have both a Borders and a Barnes & Noble nearly within walking distance from my house.  My TBR pile is actually a whole freaking bookcase so I have no shortage of reading material.  And I have a library card to use in emergencies.  So yeah, I'm not hurting for things to read. 

The people this hurts are really the writers.  Those people for whom a good portion of their sales are generated through Amazon.  The authors that depend on Amazon sales to earn back their advance and have any hope of earning royalties.  Especially those who write speculative fiction / genre, the fringe writers, that you won't find in any brick and mortar bookstore.  They are having their livelihoods affected by a ridiculous pissing match between two mega corporations. 

So I'm posting a link to John Scalzi's post today about supporting your favorite authors, and maybe finding some new ones, by buying their books.  Amazon is not the only game in town.  There are indies, your local big box brick and mortar stores, Powell's, etc.  You can also go to your local library - the more people asking for a certain book or books by a particular writer the more likely the library will order more and will get the new titles in the future.  Plus it is just a good thing to support your local library. 

And please, do not comment back to me that writers are all rich and make 6-figure advances on every book they write.  That is just not true for 99% of published authors.  Many work day jobs along with writing and those that write full time are paying for things like health insurance at out of pocket prices or going without.  Any why shouldn't a writer want to get paid for their work?  You do.  Just because what they do is "creative" or "artistic" doesn't mean it is any less work.  But my rant on that topic will need to wait as I need to get back to work. 
mythicalgirl: (stupid)

Although to be fair it seems this time Macmillan publishing is part of the problem as well. 

I've been catching up on my F-List and found out that sometime Friday evening Amazon stopped selling any title published by Macmillan due to some sort of dispute over the cost of e-books.  Now Macmillan has a lot of imprints - like Tor - so nearly half of my wish list is "currently unavailable" at amazon.com.  They are still listed as being available by third party sellers but if I want to order directly from Amazon, get their discount, or take advantage of super saver shipping?  Not so much. 

Seems Macmillan wants to be able to raise the price of e-books to $15 while Amazon wants to keep them at $9.99.  The publisher feels it should be able to set the price just like they do with print books (although really, $15 for an e-book?  Get real.  People that use e-readers already complain that $10 is too expensive).  They say that if Amazon wants to keep their price point then the e-book won't be available until later - kind of like the hardback comes out first at $30 bucks a pop then 8-12 months later you get a trade paperback at $15 then 8-12 months after that you finally get a mass market paperback at $8.  When the e-book would be available is anyones guess but I'd venture to say sometime around the time of the trade paperback.

Amazon evidently didn't like this one bit because they want to keep the price point where it is so they can sell more Kindle e-readers.  Given the latest announcement from Apple and the new iBooks coming soon the timing of this whole cluster seems like much less of a coincidence.  So both sides end up playing hardball and Amazon took the rather amazing (amazingly stupid) step of pulling all Macmillan titles - in ALL formats.  

I am not a fan of e-books.  I don't own an e-reader nor do I want one.  I like books - real books made from paper.  Ones I can hold in my hands and touch and smell.  The electronic version just doesn't do it for me.  So if Amazon had pulled the Kindle versions of all those Macmillan books but left the other formats alone I probably wouldn't even have noticed.  But they pulled everything, which to me seems like a serious case of overkill.  

The true victims of all this corporate chest thumping are the writers whose books are no longer available (because really - they do not have any control over this) and the readers.  There are calls all over the internet to close out your Amazon account, e-mail to tell them why, only buy from independent bookstores or Powell's, etc.  

Me, I'm taking a wait and see approach but after Amazon's previous epic failures (delisting gay and lesbian content, pulling back Orwell's 1984 (e-version) from people who had already paid for it) I'm having a hard time even considering giving them any more of my business.  Because this is not an accident or a glitch, my friends.  This is business, and a very foul business indeed.

For more information check out Cory Doctrow and John Scalzi.  (No, I didn't link to a specific post at Scalzi's site.  That is because 1) he has several entries about the situation and 2) you should be reading him every day anyway). 
 


Calm Now

Apr. 14th, 2009 11:29 am
mythicalgirl: (witch)
I'm still following the whole Amazon thing on the Interwebs.  So far I haven't seen anything that makes me change my mind - I still think the problem of de-ranked books is a big deal and that Amazon's response the the whole fuck-up is beyond lame. 

No, I have not canceled my account.  I removed my payment info because 1) it will prevent me from buying out of habit and 2) any company that can have an error of this magnitude doesn't need to be storing my credit card info, thanks.  Will I ever order from them again?  I honestly don't know.  I imagine I will eventually when all this shit calms down and I see evidence that they have fixed/changed their cataloging methodology.  I left my account so I can still get recommendations. 

I understand why there are people who are angrier about this than I am.  I also understand why there are people who aren't upset about this at all.  To each their own.  And while I'm still reading the news reports about this debacle I have had to stop reading the comments.  Too many of them on the more mainstream sites were really awful.  If you ever wanted evidence that homophobia and bigotry were alive and well in the world....

In other news:
This is the last days of my vacation and I intend to enjoy it by relaxing.  A long hot bath is in my immediate future.  Followed by the long-delayed trip to the grocery store.  Yes, I'm out of soy milk.  And I need to get stuff to take to work for lunch.  I'll probably watch the movies I have from Netflix this afternoon and then read some more of my book before it is time to go to bed.  Getting up tomorrow to face the world and my job is not going to be easy.  I kind of like this hanging out at home thing.  Although I'll admit that a few more days of this and I'd be bored. 

Now if you'll excuse me I have a date with a bubble bath. 
mythicalgirl: (Huh)
Edward Champion finally heard back from someone at amazon. 

Read the response from Patty Smith here: http://www.edrants.com/amazonfail-amazon-responds/

Still no public statement on what happened.  Nor a public apology for the screw-up. 

And how does a "ham-fisted cataloging error" like this get out on a public site?  Where are the controls to keep this kind of shit from happening? 

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