TRE 8 Amazon Brings a Knife to a Mud Fight


James McQuivey of Forrester Research

On the Monday after the weekend when Amazon and Macmillan faced off in a dramatic battle over eBook pricing, I turned to James McQuivey, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, for his perspective on who won, what the stakes are, and what might lie ahead.

James says his contacts at other publishers are disappointed that this turned into a mud fight, but he suggests there will be benefits from having the issue finally out in the open.  He also shares his thoughts on how Apple’s new iPad figures in to all this.

I’ll have the second half of this interview on The Kindle Chronicles episode 81, which will be uploaded as usual on Friday, February 5.  In that portion, James will discuss what he and his teammates at Forrester are calling “The Kindle Flame,” by which they mean the next generation of Kindle that might, if it gets certain things right, set the eBook market fully ablaze as opposed to merely kindled.

Click here to download this episode.

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6 Responses to “TRE 8 Amazon Brings a Knife to a Mud Fight”

  1. John Adamson Says:

    I’m looking forward to your Friday update on the Amazon vs. Macmillan thing.

    It makes no sense for Amazon to make a threatening move and then cave immediately. If they’re ready to cave that quickly, why make the move?

    Is it possible that the whole thing was a staged? I took Jobs’ comment that “the prices will be the same” to mean just that – it was known in advance. The only problem with that conspiracy theory is that Amazon people come off looking like total idiots. If they planned the whole thing to raise prices, you would think they would have done a better job of it.

    Maybe it’s just what happens in many organizations. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the Boss saying, “Now what do we do?” after a bad move.

    Love your stuff.

    Good Luck!

  2. Rick Askenase Says:

    Fascinating stuff here. I was intrigued by his analysis as to how we get to $9.99 via the back door (25% lower than current Amazon discounted hardcover prices).

    BUT, here’s the rub. What’s to stop MacMillan et als from using the same agency model to sell paper books as well? What makes this limited to ebooks? If I’m right, then we can expect to see a major price increas across the board on ALL Amazon books. Won’t THAT set the world atwitter.

    And all this in a time of recession. I still don;t see how this is NOT anti-trust.
    Rick Askenase

  3. Sara Says:

    I am so happy that Rick Askenase has mentioned ANTI-TRUST. It was my first thought. Has everyone forgotten that this kind of collusion to fix prices used to be illegal? Does it supposedly not matter because per book, it is a small amount of money?

    This Amazon Kindle customer will buy very few ebooks priced above $9.99 – only books of special interest to me that are somewhat rare.

    Hurrah for experimenting with a variety of models. However the idea of an exclusive digital edition at a higher price for a few weeks seems to me to appeal to people who read to SAY they have read something (the equivalent of having shelves of books for display), as opposed to your hardcore reader who reads a LOT, has less money, and has delighted in the Kindle because it opens up a world of choice and discovery that is actually affordable. Apple seems to not give a crap about this hardcore reader — like me.

    I fear a price war that makes it harder for us readers on a limited or fixed income.

    I’m eager to hear your next podcast.

  4. The Kindle Chronicles - TKC 81 James McQuivey Says:

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  5. TKC 81 James McQuivey | Covers for Kindle Says:

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