Okay Amazon. I know everyone's excited (or not) about the iPad (and unnecessarily so, or do I need to explain for the thousandth time that this isn't an eReader?), but acting like a little annoying kid is only going to make your parents angry. Your parents in this case are probably folks who like buying books from you and don't give a hoot (yet) about eBooks. You guys do realize that you're screwing over your customers, right?
If you're wondering what Amazon's latest drama is, check this out: Amazon has decided to stop selling books by a publisher that went with Apple. And I don't mean they stopped selling Kindle editions, I mean they stopped selling books. Want to laugh especially hard? They haven't stopped selling the Kindle editions (for Wolf Hall, at least). So you know what, Amazon? Now I'm angry because you're screwing me over.
The story is as follows. Publishers don't like Amazon's $9.99 eBook policy. Neither do I, but that's because $10 for less than 1Mb of information is absolute stupidity and incredibly expensive. More on that another time. Point is, publishers think Amazon's prices are unfair, claiming that the downward trend is ruining publishing, blah blah, no money for us, blah, you're paying for content not for format, blah diblah blah. Publishers have jumped at the idea of the "magical" iPad because they think that Apple will fix everything. This is because Apple has consented to sell higher priced eBooks, meaning more money gets back to the publishers. Publishers hope that the saying that "consumers will do what Apple tells them to" will stand here too (and yes, I did just make that up).
Clearly, Amazon is worried. Otherwise, would they really remove titles to "express disappointment" (or disagreement)? Amazon has convinced consumers that it's all right to pay incredible sums of money for eBooks, publishers think even that's not enough, and consumers are taking it lying down (again, more on this later). Now Amazon is acting like they're the victims of some strange nefarious scheme (if someone understands this comment as something else, please let me know and explain it to me - I'm honestly completely baffled), saying that $14 is too expensive for an eBook (which is absolutely true), saying "Oh, well I have to sell it like this because that's what makes me money but not money the way I'd like it but hey I'm getting more money out of it are you confused yet?".
There are other sides to the story as well. Read this account from an author whose book was temporarily removed too - it looks at this whole issue from a different angle that may, given time, make me more sympathetic towards publishers. Regardless, this whole affair is turning out to be exhausting. One conclusion is that Apple's iPad isn't the eReader to solve our problems, but rather is apparently going to cause a furor or two just because of pettiness. These fights will do no one good - Amazon, because of the bad publicity, and the publishers, because of the decrease in sales and old-fashioned mindset - most of all hurting consumers. In the meantime, I'll happily read free literature on my Sony and go shop at the Book Depository*.
*And complete a book blogger survey. Only a few days left!