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Thread: Good discussion of eBooks, ePublishing and eRetailing

  1. #1
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    Default Good discussion of eBooks, ePublishing and eRetailing

    See what Forbes Magazine say. For the wee folk, the interesting points are (1) the unrealistic pricing model which big publishers cannot escape so long as the bigger part of their business is print (2) the opportunities for small retailers (3) the opportunities for non-traditional small publishers.

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    I recall earlier this year Amazon and Macmillan had something of a difference that resulted in Macmillan's products being frozen out of the Amazon store. Macmillan spat its dummy as it felt Amazon offering books at the fixed rate of US$9.99 negated what was their perceived added value of the digital component (convenience/text-to-speech/instant download etc.) and also undervalued their existing physical books.

    There was also the concern Amazon was trying to loss lead for its Kindle device - and being a cash rich concern ultimately doing so at the expense of the publishers. Macmillan decided to postpone the release date of its digital editions so that its print products would be at advantage over eBooks for a limited time at least. That was when Amazon froze them out - I believe it was for a weekend - but both parties soon came to agreement and made up. I think the fact that Macmillan's products accounted for around 1/6th of Amazon's books helped somewhat.

    As regards the Forbes article - I see this relationship with small booksellers lasting only as long as it is purely necessary. Google making sure they are not perceived as being too evil at present. Lets be honest - this book selling expertise Powell's purports to have can be replaced by any number of online 'free' forums and book discussion groups. It's all very nice and communal, but the tide of progress would suggest it's not to last. In many ways it's like the book shops of Charing Cross Road - those that remain anywhow. I love spending an afternoon wandering down and looking through, but it's so much easier to use Abebooks, bibliofind to easily find what I want and then start haggling. Once eBooks are more prevalent, these places will dwindle even more I fear.
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    I like the Oz slang ('Spat its dummy'). Maybe the man from Powell's is in fact pointing to the future of retailing. Shops could become showrooms with barcodes. You inspect the item, point your smartphone at it and press one of two buttons. Button A and you pay 2.50 to have it delivered to your home. Button B and you come back next day to collect the item, Argos-style and FOC. I use Jessops Oxford Steet store like this but do not buy from their website because they are not the cheapest seller.
    But if you are right about the whole book business going online then I think this is a great opportunity for niche retailer/publishers/reviewers. I just can't see that the big publishers will have anything to offer. They have already outsourced almost every aspect of their operations.

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