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Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 2) 584

by kithrup (#35084388) Attached to: Apple eBook Rules Changing For Sellers

Which part of "the publishers set the price and the profit margin" did you not understand?

The sale price is $10, and the publisher benevolently allows Amazon to keep 30% of that. So they send $7 to the publisher, and keep $3. But Apple demands 30% of the sale price, $10. So Amazon doesn't see $10, they see $7. And they still have to send $7 to the publisher. Therefore, Amazon gets nothing.

Comment: Re:Ridiculous (Score 2) 584

by kithrup (#35082008) Attached to: Apple eBook Rules Changing For Sellers
In many cases, Amazon is not allowed (contractually) to set the price -- the publisher does. This happened last year, when Amazon and MacMillan had their kerfuffle. If you look at Kindle books, if it says "The publisher has set this price," that's what's going on there -- and the publisher has graciously allowed Amazon to take 30% profit on the price the publisher dictates. So, no, Amazon won't be raising prices. They can't. And since Apple takes 30% of the sale price, and the publishers have graciously allowed Amazon to keep 30% of the sale price, that means there is no money for Amazon. Which means no Kindle for iPhone/iPad/whatever. The same thing applies to the Nook.

Comment: Re:What a joke... (Score 1) 595

by ceoyoyo (#32103326) Attached to: Is Apple's Attack On Flash Really About Video?

Worse. He's comparing Flash to Apple. All of Apple. That's where I quit reading.

Even the usual comparison of Flash (proprietary) to H.264 (proprietary) is wrong. The proper comparison for video, which is the subject the article is harping on, is Flash (proprietary) to HTML5 (open standard). Most Flash video uses the encumbered H.264 codec, just as Apple has suggested H.264 is the ideal codec to use with HTML5. So the codecs are the same. What's the difference? The container, and one container is indeed proprietary while the other is an open standard.

Comment: Re:Amazon is fighting for their life here, remembe (Score 1) 137

by kithrup (#31551518) Attached to: Amazon Battles Apple By Arm-Twisting Publishers

I fully agree. I should have made it clear that Amazon's "life" includes their business model. It may be that the publishers can change the business model to the one they prefer; it may be they cannot. Or it may be that some other model will appear. Amazon can try to fight it, can go with the change being pushed by the publishers, or can try to come up with a new model.

My point, however, was that right now, Amazon appears to consider this a life-or-death situation, and are reacting thus.

Personally, as a consumer, I like being able to find deals -- either lower prices, or package deals (e.g., buy all three books in a trilogy for less than the combined prices). As a member of the society, I dislike retailers pushing prices so low that the producers (e.g., manufacturers, publishers, or writers) suffer. As I said, a pox on all of them.

(And I would say that both Macmillan and Amazon are acting as stubbornly and as self-damagingly as the record labels did.)

Comment: Re:This is unexpected, how? (Score 1) 137

by kithrup (#31550322) Attached to: Amazon Battles Apple By Arm-Twisting Publishers

What do you mean by "buy"?

Since there is no physical medium, I don't think a "buy" model will ever happen. So that probably means no re-selling to, say, used book stores, or donating to libraries (which typically then sell the books you donate).

If you mean, "without any DRM," then there's Baen's Webscription, which offers a variety of formats, all without DRM. And the Apple deal with publishers allegedly allows the publishers to decided whether or not they want the content DRM'd. (Gee, I wonder what the vast majority of them will choose...)

Comment: Amazon is fighting for their life here, remember (Score 4, Interesting) 137

by kithrup (#31550276) Attached to: Amazon Battles Apple By Arm-Twisting Publishers

This goes contrary to the degree of control Amazon likes

Forcing an "agency model" on any retailer is going contrary to both history and market standards. The general model for booksellers is to buy wholesale, at somewhere around 40%-50% of MSRP, and then sell at some price between that and MSRP. Amazon has discounts of MSRP all the way from 55%, to only a few percentage points. Barnes & Nobles has similar prices (if you become a "B&N Member," for US$25/year, the prices are pretty much the same as Amazon's. A bit lower sometimes, a bit higher sometimes.)

What's really going on here is power: the publishers have decided they don't want retailers undercutting each other -- that leads to a single player having market dominance, which allows them to try to force concessions (lower prices, content changes, etc.) from the publishers. As examples of this, see Amazon and Wal-Mart.

When Apple joined the ebook market, however, they were able to take the same "we don't care about making a profit on content" attitude they have for music, and offer it to the publishers. And the market share Apple can offer with the iPad is probably at least as large as Amazon's current market share with is Kindle. (And unlike Amazon, Apple won't be paying the end-user bandwidth costs.) This gives publishers who are willing to sign up with Apple enormous negotiation power with Amazon -- over ebooks. Amazon's only negotiation power that can counter that is the physical book market.

Personally, I would certainly be offended if someone said, "You will sell this product at a price we dictate, and only take 15%. You cannot charge more to make more money; you cannot try to maximize profits through selling more by offering it for less. And if 15% of an arbitrary price we set isn't enough for you to make profit -- or even enough for you to run your business, tough." And I'd fight it as best I could.

Of course, that's also pretty much Amazon's attitude towards the publishers. So a pox on all of them, really.

Comment: The problem with this particular conspiracy theory (Score 2, Insightful) 308

by kithrup (#30624034) Attached to: Why Apple Denied the Google Latitude App

is that it requires that the app approvers know what patents Apple has in the process.

This is of course a possibility; it's also a possibility that there's an IP lawyer looking over every submitted (or even ever just-about-to-be-approved) app, for just that kind of thing. But that doesn't really fit with the workflow descriptions that have come out into the open, so I don't think it's very likely.

(It's also possible that he reviewers are given general directions occasionally, such as, "All Google-submitted apps must be sent to such-and-such for review" or "Any app that uses location services in a social network context must be approved by upper management." Obviously, I made those up :).)

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