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Comment Re:Fight for consumers (Score 3, Insightful) 211

Full Disclosure: I work for a small publisher. In terms of actual stores dedicated to selling books, there are fewer and fewer of them as time goes by. And it's not just the small guys, Borders got taken out too. To be clear, there's an economic argument to be made that this is a good thing but let's at least be clear about one thing: Amazon has a very real monopoly on print and electronic books. While publishers will come and go over time the idea that authors will publish their own books shows a lack of experience actually dealing with real authors. Sure, some have the talent, desire, and resources to do so. However, that vast majority of authors we deal with do not want to prepare their books for market and then have to deal with retailers. Further, publishers are partially in the business of risk taking by offering up payment upfront to authors for works they haven't completed yet. Authors tend to be comforted knowing that they'll get $X now for signing the contracts and $Y later when they deliver the manuscript regardless of actually making a single sale. Again, some authors are willing to take that risk and it will pay off but not many. So sure, Amazon could take on those roles but that doesn't just magically remove teat suckers. Unless you want unedited and un-styled walls of text someone's going to have to edit the damn thing and someone with an eye for a design needs to make it look half-way appealing. Those people aren't likely to do so for free. I'm sure Amazon could come into the market though and push those costs down and economically that'd be great. However, speaking long term, how long is that going to last? If Amazon has a monopoly on publishing in addition to distribution then what makes you think they'll continue with razor-thin margins?

Comment Re:OpenOffice or LibreOffice (Score 1) 281

Yea, I made one ... just one ... database in Base for Christmas cards which means it gets used/updated once a year. After two years it corrupted itself and was unrecoverable. Went to the forums, send the file off to some kind soul who confirmed it was borked. So yea ... hard to recommend Base as a serious contender.

Comment Re:logic... (Score 1) 462

No one is suspending any constitutional rights unless you feel searching people at the border is unreasonable. If you'd like to disagree on that point then so be it but I can't think of a more reasonable situation in which to be searched. Further, I suspect terrorism is not really the biggest concern at the border ... that's more of a TSA thing. From my experience they are far more concerned with the more common trafficking of drugs, firearms, humans, or other contraband.

Comment Re:logic... (Score 1) 462

The answer to your question is yes, they would absolutely search a briefcase. I'm not sure what would make you think otherwise. I cross the Canadian/US land border several times a year with the full knowledge that if the border agent wants to tear my car apart bolt-by-bolt he can do so. Once done, they'd give me the OK and leave me with a pile of car parts. I'm pretty big on civil liberties, and stories like this don't exactly make me comfortable, but at the end of the day the border guys have a tough job. Hundreds of thousands of people entering the country, they get a minute or two to decide if something is amiss. Should they have unlimited powers? No. However, I think there's a case to be made that if you want to enter a country you are not entitled to due-process in it's entirety. In terms of it being a fourth amendment issue ... I'm not sure it's unreasonable to be searched when entering a country ... it seems pretty standard across the world. Electronics make it feel far move invasive, sure, but the base concept of being able to search people entering the country seems pretty sound.

Comment Re:E-book monopoly (Score 1) 330

I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with you there. I work for a mid-size publisher, just checked out YTD figures, and Amazon has a clear monopoly in both print and e-book. Further, Amazon knows this and acts accordingly. I'm sure the big publishers have a different relationship and more leverage but there isn't a lot of negotiating with Amazon at this point. They will sell and indeed have sold our e-books at below their cost as loss leaders since they can make it up in other items while dedicated booksellers can't.

Comment Custom Packages via WSUS will also be Affected (Score 1) 207

If you use a program like SCCM, SCE, EmminantWare/SolarWinds, Secunia, Local Update Publisher (plug: my OSS alternative), or any other similar program that allows you to publish your own packages through the WSUS system you will also need to worry about this. For some time the default certificate that gets created was 512 bits and will become invalid with this update. Check with your vendor to see what remedy they suggest. One of the recent updates to the WSUS API bumped this default cert creation to 2048 bits but that won't help existing users.

Comment Re:below cost? (Score 1) 242

I work for a very small publisher and there are a couple of reasons. First and foremost, we don't want to do retail. Our core competence is finding authors with good ideas and bringing those ideas to market in the form of books. Second, Amazon has an existing monopoly and dictate the terms to us ... no the other way around. We can't afford to not sell our books via Amazon due to that monopoly and if we were to undercut their prices they would simply stop selling our product. Think about it from your own perspective as a consumer. Do you want to have to use Google to browse hundreds or thousands of publisher website to find books you want or do you just want to do a search on Amazon that is guaranteed to find the book if it exists?

Comment Re:They can compete with Amazon (Score 1) 242

I work for a publisher and I agree with you regarding DRM. However, even if we offered DRM-free books for a few bucks less on our own website it wouldn't make a lick of difference? Why? Because Amazon. They have a monopoly in online book retail and e-books via the Kindle. The vast majority of the market would continue to purchase books through Amazon because it has every publisher's book, most people don't give a damn about DRM, and they just want to buy books on their Kindle. It wouldn't help that Amazon would happily dump our products to push us out of the retail market or outright refuse to sell our products if we offered it for less.

Comment Re:Low barrier to entry (Score 1) 242

How are you going to grab market share from a company that has, can, and will dump product? Amazon's practical monopoly on internet book retail and e-books via the Kindle is in itself a huge barrier to entry. Starting a Amazon competitor from nothing would not be easy by a long shot for a whole hosts of reasons. If you think it's a slam dunk then by all means ... go for it.

Comment Re:Low margin high volume (Score 1) 242

I work for a publisher so I am obviously biased. Self publishing has and can work for people, no doubt about it. However, you have to be the kind of author who wants to get your book edited, designed, and promoted. Maybe you're the diamond in the rough that not only has great ideas but can also write down that idea clearly, have perfect grammar, know the ins-and-outs of designing a book interior and cover, is great at marketing, and are willing to risk months of work without any guarantee of a return. If so, you stand to make a lot of money ... or lose everything. If you are an already established author these risk diminish significantly.

Comment Re:below cost? (Score 1) 242

You are correct. However, Amazon has dumped product in the past and there's little reason to believe that they won't do so again. Sure, there's laws against that but that won't help the thousand of retailers who are not Apple whose main revenue is based on books. By the time it's all figured out they're long dead. This of course is capitalism at work so you may feel free to applaud their closure but don't complain when Amazon uses their monopoly to screw the consumer.

Comment Re:Do you guys support Amazon as a monopoly? Reall (Score 1) 242

Again, you clearly do not understand the market. Our customers force us to sell via Amazon; that is where they want to purchase our books. We do sell to Walmart and Target although they use intermediary buyers. We are also working on our own online delivery but that won't make a lick of difference. Amazon already has the monopoly on internet book retail and e-books and we are not likely to rival them in any meaningful way. Nor do we want to; we just want to publish books.

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