1. Book Pricing
In case you missed the story, over the weekend Macmillan drew a line in the sand. No more devaluing our product, no more underselling to boost Kindle market share, we’re not going to let you sell electronic books for $9.99 upon date of hard cover publication.
Well, yeah. You should have seen the mealy-mouthed Amazon explanation when the retailer caved. Something about Macmillan having a "monopoly over their own titles"? Huh?
The record companies want to raise prices at the iTunes Store and Steve Jobs goes public and calls them greedy. Jeff Bezos just caves.
But the truly interesting point is Macmillan’s desire to stand up to Amazon. It was emboldened by a product that has not yet hit the shelves, the iPad. Steve Jobs said electronic books would be a straight 70/30 deal, in favor of the publisher. And books would cost $12.99 to $14.99.
Overnight, with an unreleased product, Steve Jobs changed electronic book pricing. Wow.
(Meanwhile, emboldened by Macmillan, HarperCollins is now angling for a better e-book deal with Amazon, which Murdoch said today is ready to renegotiate. Meanwhile, Murdoch, who controls HarperCollins, referenced Apple’s higher prices in his criticism of Amazon. So, Bezos takes his finger out of the dike and the water comes rushing in, just like that, all because Jeff is afraid of Steve Jobs and Apple.)
You should have seen the blogosphere. Up in arms. The iPad doesn’t support FLASH!
And it doesn’t have a camera, which the ultimately released edition is now rumored to include, and there’s no USB…
But Flash? How can we run the Internet without Flash? It’s the standard! Hell, you could see the blank spot in the "New York Times" page Jobs pulled up in the demo, where the movie was supposed to go. The iPad can’t triumph… Maybe you can get away without Flash on the tiny iPhone, but not the iPad!
Then Jobs struck back. Trumping the naysayers by saying that Flash sucks. That it’s the main reason Safari crashes on computers.
Mmm… That’s right.
I don’t know if you’re on a Mac, but it never crashes, not only the whole computer, but any individual program, except for occasionally Microsoft Office, where so many cooks ended up releasing a half-baked product, and Safari.
Yes, it’s not frequent, but Safari crashes. Or hangs. And it’s always the damn movie. It’s always Flash.
Suddenly, online, there’s all this hoopla about HTML5. How it and H.264 are better than Flash and are going to replace it.
Wow. Talk about turning lemons into lemonade. Steve Jobs is so powerful he can change the STANDARD! Then again, this is not the first time he’s done it. Remember the iMac without the floppy drive, with USB connectors? Seen a floppy drive recently? Isn’t USB the standard (is the proprietary iPod connector about to be the new standard?)
There were audible groans in the auditorium when Jobs stated that high speed cellular connections for the iPad would be through AT&T. The groans may not have made the official video, but do you wonder why the stream doesn’t appear until hours later? It’s got to be cleaned up!
AT&T has shitty 3G coverage. Just watch TV and see the maps. Yes, AT&T’s 3G is extremely fast, WHERE YOU CAN GET IT! Which is in the metropolis, assuming the system’s not overloaded.
But today it was revealed that Verizon just didn’t bid high enough. That AT&T put its money where its mouth was. Coming up with a low-priced service plan that other providers weren’t about to match. Giving AT&T a monopoly on Apple products and time to finally get those infrastructure changes in place before everybody abandons the legacy carrier.
All this and the iPad has not yet been released.
It seems the world comes down to two kinds of people. Those who are afraid of Apple and those who are not. Verizon is not. But they just reported shitty numbers. Amazon is.
You see companies believe that Steve Jobs is in control of a giant tribe, who will follow him anywhere. So far, Mr. Jobs has not revealed a compelling reason to purchase an iPad. But that doesn’t mean he won’t. And when he does, when the tribe has acquired it and harangued newbies to join the team, do you want to be left out?
This is utterly amazing. We’ve got a President, a whole cadre of elected officials whored out to corporations, their approval ratings in the dumper. But we’ve got a businessman (aren’t we supposed to hate businessmen?) who appears beholden to no one, in search of excellence, willing to do it his way at the risk that potential partners might take the highway. When so-called musical "artists" are eager to sell out, do you wonder why Steve Jobs has got such a throng of admirers, such a posse? To the point where an unreleased product changes the course of business?
AT&T would be in the same boat as Sprint without the iPhone and now the iPad, hemorrhaging customers.
Adobe felt it won the war of Web video and rested on its laurels, just like Microsoft. We’ve got dominant market share, Flash is the standard, you have to use our product…huh? Especially if the platform changes. Microsoft may own the desktop, although their share is slipping, but it’s losing tremendous ground in the new medium, mobile devices. Hell who’d want Windows Mobile after using Windows on their desktop? And it’s not like Windows Mobile has gotten good reviews.
And if you think physical books are the way of the future, then you’re unaware of the towns that no longer sport a bookstore, like Laredo, TX, you’re unaware that library hours are shortening, that Borders is on the bring of bankruptcy and Barnes & Noble might soon be taken over. The publishers are too ignorant to even see what’s going on. They’re running into the arms of Apple to avoid Amazon. Who do you need to fear most? Just look at a Kindle and an iPad and you’ve got your answer. Publishers are doing BETTER by selling e-books on Amazon today, they’re getting physical book wholesale! But fearful of $9.99 becoming the pricing standard, they’re taking a worse deal from Apple. Retailing the books at higher prices, but getting less in return. But how about when you want to raise prices again? Look what happened with the record companies. Suddenly, Apple had all the power, not them.
But publishers are shortsighted.
And Amazon is weak.
AT&T realized it’s better to get on the Jobs bandwagon than not.
And the public wants cheaper prices, or it steals. Not that Steve Jobs really cares, he’s in the hardware business…