Tag: Prices

Is Amazon a Monopoly?

Amazon-iconDepending on who you speak with Amazon is either already a monopoly or working real hard at becoming one. Truth be told, I do a lot of shopping at Amazon.com, not just books, but electronics, household items, even clothes. The selection is unparalleled, prices are affordable, and delivery is quick, when using Prime. Do I wish them continued success? Sure. Do I want them to become a monopoly? No.

Much continues to be written about the ongoing spat between Amazon and Hachett Publishing. I’m on the side who wants the market to dictate eBook prices. Right now that appears to be Amazon. You can read their position here. Though many traditionally published authors remain on both sides of the argument, what Hachette is demanding is higher eBook prices, plain and simple. They want to set eBook prices and pay Amazon a share like they do in the iTunes Store. A practice, I might add, employed by Apple to lure publishers away from Amazon. Amazon wants to continue working like any other wholesaler, buying the books at one price and selling them for what they decide is a fair amount. Is that evidence of creating a monopoly?

Granted if Amazon can afford to sell eBooks cheaper than anyone else can they will be on their way to becoming a monopoly by attrition. That is where the Kindle in all its forms comes in. The pricing on the Kindle, however, suggests the opposite. Those devices are offered at an inexpensive price to drive eBook and media sales. So all this talk about monopoly is at best a cautionary warning and at worst pure fear mongering. My opinion is that right now and in this particular case Amazon is doing what is best for Amazon. If that means eBook prices stay “reasonable” then it is a benefit for consumers. If it gets to the point where a monopoly is looking like a real possibility then my opinion may change. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Authors’ Petition

Change.org has an interesting article concerning the ongoing battle between Amazon and Hachette. Publishers for too long have been allowed to circumvent the free market process. I for one applaud Amazon. I would also be the first one to turn away from them should they begin to exhibit the same monopolistic powers that they are fighting. Click on the link as it is a worthy read and explains a side of the story that may be missing if all you have heard is that Amazon is fighting over eBook prices. http://www.change.org/petitions/authors-to-thank-our-readers-2?utm_campaign=new_signature&utm_medium=email&utm_source=signature_receipt#share

Did You Get Your Payoff?

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I was surprised to get an email telling me I had a credit from Amazon on my account. I didn’t recall returning anything. After reading the email I realized it was from the price fixing settlement that I, because I had bought some eBooks, was a part of.┬áSo thank you Amazon I will put your credit to good use, but we still need to talk about eBook prices.

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/amazon-issues-credits-in-response-to-ebook-price-fixing_b84002

I am of the mind that prices for current eBooks offered by the big publishers are too high. I know this ventures into the whole debate of how do we, as authors, attain value for our work, but I, as a consumer, do not place the same value on eBooks as I do other content. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy reading eBooks, I do, it is more one of consumption. Since an eBook only exists so long as I am reading it and I cannot sell it or lend it to extend my value for it I cannot see paying more than six dollars for it. Sadly that is about 1/2 of what many best sellers go for in the Kindle or Nook stores.

The other side of this is, I don’t have to pay that much for eBooks. There are a wealth of independent authors offering their works at the consumption friendly prices that bring them closer to the impulse buy of supermarket checkout line paperbacks. Some might make the false assumption that these prices represent the quality of the work. Some might erroneously conclude that anything at this basement price indicates something of a farm team effort, professional but not quite the big leagues. All of these people would be far from the mark. When you are a self published author coming up with the price of your work is probably the most difficult decision you have too make. Once you do make it you will always second guess yourself. Is it too low? Am I shorting myself? Is it too high? Could I sell more at a friendlier price? I have books priced at ninety-nine cents and ones priced just under three dollars. Sales have not proven one price better than the other. The debate continues on. The only advice I can give is go with your gut. Look at eBooks you have bought and what price made the transaction a done deal and what price left you with a, “maybe if the price ever goes down.” Let that guide you for your own work and hopefully put an end to those sleepless nights. You have bigger things to fuss over, like your next book.