Amazon, apparently no longer all that comfortable with the role that it has settled into during the course of its ongoing standoff with the publisher Hachette—unrepentant and unyielding monopoly monster—now wishes to explain itself: It's also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 [...]
Edan Lepucki’s novel, California, will launch next week as one of the most pre-ordered debuts in the history of the publisher Little, Brown. It has become, in recent weeks, an unintentional emblem of the war that Amazon is currently waging on Little, Brown’s parent company, Hachette, as the focus of a campaign by Stephen Colbert to “not lick [Amazon’s] monopoly boot” by pre-ordering it from independent bookstores. In some ways, it’s a fitting choice, since it tells the story of a couple, Frida and Cal, making their way in the world after the collapse of society as we know it. But it’s about much more—love, marriage, [...]
Credit to Amazon reviewer Sam_One, who noticed "something weird" going on back in May:
Something weird seems to be going on with Warner Bros. pre-orders. Loads of them are not available anymore, and all of them were removed pretty much at the same time (I had several of them in my "Saved for Later" list. This includes most releases of 300: Rise of an Empire, The Nutty Professor Box Set, The Man who knew too little, Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 3 etc. etc. All of them Warner releases, some of them pretty big.
"The Internet retailer, which controls more than a third of the book trade in the United States, is marking many books published by Hachette Book Group as not available for at least two or three weeks. A Hachette spokeswoman said on Thursday that the publisher was striving to keep Amazon supplied but that the Internet giant was delaying shipments 'for reasons of their own.'"
Ah, god, Amazon's seasonal publisher demoralization came early this year! The story is a little crazy in just how transparent it is: Neither Hachette nor Amazon wants to say exactly what's going on but what is probably happening is a routine, broad negotiation of [...]
The word wunderkind was dragged, politely, into usage by that great plodder George Bernard Shaw to note that every age manages to season its offspring with instantaneous genius; Mozart is not a singularity. And for decades after, "wonder child" happily stayed within the safe semantic confines of age and the arts. Which was nice for the rest of us. You couldn’t be a wunderkind, without being a kind; you were not to be wundered at if you couldn’t perform some great musical, or perhaps painterly, feat. Then, in 1972, the New Yorker—channeling the emergence of youth culture the decade before—pushed the watershed and gave the kids some breathing space to [...]
Congratulations, everybody: Black Friday retail sales topped a billion dollars, which means everybody is rich and happy again. Whether shopping from a laptop in bed with a variety of empty bottles and pie crumbs or "at the actual store" with your fellow shoppers in their sweatpants, you helped make America great again.
How much greater? How about 26% better than Black Friday 2011! That is just a phenomenal amount of spending, for a phenomenal amount of consumer goods, electronics, gifts, and whatever else people buy. Pretty much everything is a Black Friday sales item in 2012. Cars? Oh hell yeah, go buy a car on Black [...]
When I got my first royalty check from Amazon, I went to my boss at the bar and was like, “Mike, I quit, dude,” and he was like why, and I was like “Look at this check, man,” and he said, “I’d quit too.”
This is what I’m doing now. My three stories that are out have now sold in excess of 93,000 copies, and I have another Kindle Single that I’m working on for later this year, and hopefully working on a book.
Last week, Amazon informed us that for ten dollars per month, Kindle users can have unlimited access to over six hundred thousand books in its library. But it shouldn't cost a thing to borrow a book, Amazon, you foul, horrible, profiteering enemies of civilization.
For a monthly cost of zero dollars, it is possible to read six million e-texts at the Open Library, right now. On a Kindle, or any other tablet or screen thing. You can borrow up to five titles for two weeks at no cost, and read them in-browser or in any of several other formats (not all titles are supported in all formats, but most [...]
It has been more than a full moon cycle since one was able to purchase books published by Hachette in a reasonable manner from Amazon, which—despite selling books largely as an accident of history, and now essentially vestigially—has a forty percent share of new book sales in the U.S. But this hostage situation will apparently see only one resolution: the complete and utter capitulation of Hachette to whatever Amazon is demanding. Russ Grandinetti, a Kindle executive, told the Wall Street Journal that Amazon "was willing to suffer some damage to its reputation and was simply doing what is 'in the long-term interest of our customers.'" Books were [...]
The book industry is getting comfortable with the m-word: They are beginning to like the way it feels when it leaves their lips, the way it reads in interviews, the way it sounds in public conversation. Popular airport storyteller James Patterson recently told BookExpo: "If Amazon’s not a monopoly, it’s the beginning of one."
Amazon's pointedly cold conflict with Hachette, a company with a major part in Amazon's past and little obvious role in its future, at first felt personal—like, there must have been some bad blood, or a grudge, for Amazon to effectively de-list one of the largest publishers in the world, right? But the reality is [...]
Amazon’s entry into publishing has created an awkward divide, giving some book people a second or a third chance in an imperilled industry while tainting them in the eyes of others. The literary agent, contemplating the future of the editors currently at Amazon, said, “You’d have to consider the time you spent with Vichy when you’re looking for work after the occupation.” Benjamin Anastas, a novelist who couldn’t find an American publisher for his third book, told a friend that he was going to publish his fourth, a memoir called “Too Good to Be True,” with Amazon. The friend, a novelist who had once worked at Harcourt—the house that [...]
The Post Co. will change to a new, still-undecided name and continue as a publicly traded company http://t.co/8VokdkOp8f
— Michael Roston (@michaelroston) August 5, 2013
I'm listening to the conference call. WaPo staffers asked not to tweet for 10 minutes.
— Romenesko (@romenesko) August 5, 2013
wait sorry is this a joke?
— Rachel Fershleiser (@RachelFersh) August 5, 2013
People who purchased the Washington Post also liked these products
— Jason Linkins (@dceiver) August 5, 2013
They can't make a non-shitty Kindle Fire but they can buy the Washington Post????
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) August 5, 2013
"Amazon.com Inc. is planning an online marketplace for wine sales directly to consumers, said executives for several California wineries, marking the Seattle Web giant’s second foray into the business in three years." —Oh, man, this is some seriously DEVIOUS strategy right here. You order a bunch of wine from Amazon, get drunk, and then order a bunch of other crap you would never buy when sober. Soon Jeff Bezos will own us all!
As an Amazon affiliate, we get a wee percentage of sales from people who click through from our site to Amazon. But better than that, we get a report from Amazon about what people have purchased! (Don't worry, it's all anonymous: there's no information at all passed on about the purchaser's identity.) One thing we can guarantee: you people buy things online. Here are just a few excerpts from the year 2011, here with quantity, title, media and cost.
1 Chupacabra (HD), Amazon Instant Video, $2.84
2 "Top Chef: Don't Be Tardy for the Dinner Party," Instant Video, $1.89
1 Buffalo by David Bitton Men's Bridle Strap Belt [...]
The thought of the future is often terrifying because we are biologically programmed to be frightened by dim uncertainty. But, as we've made steady progress toward the construction of a time machine, some pieces of the future have inadvertently slipped into our own time, providing a comforting sense of probability, if not certainty, about the fate of certain key elements of civilization: Mr. Zandri, an author of mystery and suspense tales, is published by Thomas & Mercer, one of Amazon Publishing’s many book imprints. He is edited by Amazon editors and promoted by Amazon publicists to Amazon customers, nearly all of whom read his books in electronic form on [...]
Amazon has announced a new phone called the "Fire," and it does all the things that other phones do: calls, texts, photos, apps. There is also a physical button that activates a service called "Firefly," which allows you to: Recognize household items, books, DVDs, CDs, video games, and more. Access product details, add items to your Wish List, or order on Amazon straight from your Fire phone.
A ʙᴜʏ button, but for everything! A direct, interference-free line from your worst impulses to your credit card. The world is Amazon's showroom, and you are its tired, confused customer, wandering the aisles endlessly in search of an exit that no longer [...]
How is one woman's boycott against Amazon, a response to the company's ongoing campaign to make life miserable for the mega-publisher Hachette and its authors, going? "I’m convinced that Amazon will not make any effort to regain me since they can rely on getting me back due to the magnetism of their efficiency and their massive stock of everything," she wrote. "So, feeling as isolated as I do in my feeble protest, I believe I’ll call it quits soon if there is no prospect of it making a difference to anyone."
But Ardelle—can I call you Ardelle?—are you sure you want to give up so easily? What if [...]
J.K. Rowling recently told Wonderland magazine that Hermione and Harry would have made a better couple than Ron and Hermione. It shouldn’t have mattered. Apart from the fact that we’re talking about the romantic lives of make-believe wizards, not only would Roland Barthes yawn at the author’s opinion about her own work, but the fans had already paired off Harry and Hermione themselves—nine years ago.
But the opinions of authors can’t help but feel more canonical than the things we internet denizens dream up ourselves—particularly when you take into account the connotations that the term "fan fiction" carries for most people.
L.J. Smith’s newest book, [...]
There are those who say that leaving ironic product reviews on Amazon is proof that we have ultimately failed in our haphazard pursuit of a higher purpose, but those people would be wrong. What was Jonathan Swift's famous op-ed about eating dead Irish babies if not a proto-Amazon review done in irony? Is the Book of Revelation anything more than a parody of Roman imperial politics and luxury obsession? Anyway, here's a Playmobil playset that Amazon doesn't even sell, and the Freedom Writers are leaving some very biting fake reviews that are probably really more about their unhappiness with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.
First in a series of two essays today on freedom and the Internet. Next: Google, Sci-Fi And The MTA.
Late last Friday, news broke that the Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, an online discussion board and community commonly referred to as the WELL, was on the verge of being shut down. Founded in 1985 as a dial-up BBS, the WELL is an enormously important part of internet history, both as a place where things happened and as a model for how discussion and community should work on the web; the comments system below this post owes its existence, in many ways, to the WELL. The site's ethos [...]