First, the good news – my review is the headliner on Multiplayer Hub’s review website which launched today. I’ve got a couple other reviews in the pipeline, but it’s been a fun experience so far. I get to play games and get paid for it. Sweet.
Now for the WTF? It’s been many years since I’ve been a patron of Amazon. The reason for this stems from an issue I had with them regarding some shipping and credit. In the end, I was annoyed all to hell and haven’t given them my business unless someone got me a gift certificate.
Over this past weekend, Amazon de-listed all the books published by Macmillan (who also does TOR/Forge, Nature Publishing, and a bunch of others). The public face is that this is due to a contract dispute with Macmillan regarding the prices of electronic versions of books. Macmillan wants the prices to be higher, Amazon wants them to be lower. Amazon is also the creator of the Kindle, an eBook reader, so it is obviously in their best interest to keep the prices low so people can buy more eBooks.
Well, this past week, Apple released the iPad which includes a eBook reader (called iBook). They also have contracts with numerous publishers, including Macmillan. Apple apparently offered the publishers a better deal on selling their books, Amazon got upset and took all of Macmillan’s books off their website.
This pissed off not only Macmillan, but also the authors of said books. See, those folks rely on books being sold to make their living. And what better way to get your point across than to piss off a bunch of people who write for a living and like to make their opinions known to hordes of book buying fans? Oh wait…
It’s a freaking mess and I’m only touching the surface of it. Here’s a few links that explain it in greater detail.
- NY Times
- Making Light (run by the Nielsen Haydens, editors at TOR) and a second entry.
- John Scalzi : One, Two, Three,
- Tobias Buckell (on SWFA)
- Scott Westerfield
- Do a Google search on Macmillan vs Amazon for more
Amazon released a statement on Sunday saying they were going to back down, though at the moment I don’t see any of my favorite authors relisted. For me, I haven’t been buying from Amazon and this latest SNAFU means I won’t be buying from them in the foreseeable future. eBooks don’t matter a great deal to me (I’ve never said “I want to curl up next to the fire with a nice LCD screen”), but a lot of people do like them and as an aspiring author, it gives me a bit of fear for the future of e-publishing. I guess we’ll see how this all shakes out.