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Another nail in the book's coffin


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#1 Rail Paul

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:55 PM

NY Times has an article today about the expected fallout from the Department of Justice's lawsuit against Apple and several publishers. The DOJ asserts the parties fixed the prices of e-books, partly to minimize the difference in price between the hard copy and the e-version.

The article posits Amazon as the likely winner. The current arrangement sets the prices of e-books above the prices Amazon had originally advertised prior to the publishers' agreement to set a floor price. Although one observer said that "publishing good content is the most important part" of a book, it seems that the disintermediation process will grind prices from the current $14.99 downward.

Other big issues include whether alternate readers like Nook will be supported in the future, and whether some writers will cut their own deals directly with Amazon. The writer Susan Orlean commented on her blog a while back that a short work offered only for sale on Amazon netted her more money per sale than a traditional hard cover book. Traditional book sellers are severely disadvantaged by the potential of direct sales for a few dollars.


“Amazon must be unbelievably happy today,” said Michael Norris, a book publishing analyst with Simba Information. “Had they been puppeteering this whole play, it could not have worked out better for them.”

The government said the five publishers colluded with Apple in secret to develop a new policy that let them set their own retail prices, and then sought to hide their discussions.

After that deal was in place in 2010, the government said, prices jumped everywhere because under the agreement, no bookseller could undercut Apple.

HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster settled the charges Wednesday, leaving the other two, Penguin and Macmillan, and Apple to fight.

Amazon, which already controls about 60 percent of the e-book market, can take a loss on every book it sells to gain market share for its Kindle devices. When it has enough competitive advantage, it can dictate its own terms, something publishers say is beginning to happen.

The online retailer declined to comment Wednesday beyond its statement about lowering prices. Asked last month if Amazon had been talking to the Justice Department about the investigation — a matter of intense speculation in the publishing industry — a spokesman, Craig Berman, said, “I can’t comment.”



Price shaking?

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#2 Steve R.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 07:32 PM

Different tangent but maybe the same topic.

I've been wondering for several years now why I've basically stopped reading books. After all, I have a BA in English Lit & read a lot of those things over the years. And I obviously still read, albeit this type of lowbrow crap (ok.. except for Mongo & Wilf, who'd be too offended by that comment & are clearly highbrow).

So, is it the need for reading glasses, the busy retirement lifestyle, the dissipating intellectual interest? Well, I've finally concluded that, in our modern world of incredible access to all types of visual media, the general Internet's range & ease of interpersonal & group communication & my increased access to other activities (tennis, travel & restaurants come to mind), reading is just too damn SLOW. Just about all of the other things I do result in a much more immediate conclusion. Not gratification, since the process of reading can be gratifying to me as well. But I seem to want closure to things more quickly than even reading a short story allows, compared to all the other things I do. And that seems to be more & more important to me.. not sure why. Comments?

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#3 cstuart

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 07:39 PM

That's a lot to read. Can you post a tl;dr?



#4 Steve R.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:15 PM

That's a lot to read. Can you post a tl;dr?


Obviously, only my intake needs to be brief, not my output.

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#5 Lex

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:23 PM

Interesting Steve.  I suspect your explanation is true for you although things might change.  They did for me.

 

A few years ago I stopped reading new books.  Instead I re-read books I already owned and had really liked when I read them the first time.  I didn't do this consciously, it just happened and when I noticed it I wasn't motivated to change things.

 

Then I received a Kindle as a gift.  I didn't think it would change my reading habits but I found that the ease and immediacy of acquiring new titles made a huge difference.  I bought some new books by authors whose work I enjoyed in the past.  Thirty seconds from impulse to acquisition.  And they were really good.

 

Amazon began sending me lists of suggested titles.  I ignored 98% of them but some appealed to me.  It helped that I could read hundreds of customer reviews to get a feel for whether they were truly good.  A lot of those books were by newish authors and were heavily discounted.  For $3 I can take a joke.  If it's bad I won't agonize about money wasted.  Surprise.  Most of them were good and a few of them were even better than that.  I bought other books from those authors I really liked. (Yes, I know this is Amazon's evil master plan.  Make books cheap and easily accessible by selling a heavily subsidized e-reader.  It works.)

 

And then there are the public domain titles.  Free books.  There are thousands of them available on line.  I downloaded about 25 Nero Wolfe mysteries and I'm enjoying them enormously.

 

Along the way I realized that the reason I wasn't reading any new books is because I was too lazy to shop for them.  The Kindle solved that problem.


“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"Why can't a horse fuck another horse and then race a few days later? Sort of like a boxer." - Joethefoodie

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China


#6 Steve R.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:54 PM

I wish that was the case for me.  I don't even need to shop for them.  Ginny reads 2-3 books at any given time and our place is quite full of books that I know I'd like if I gave myself the time to read any of them.  But I don't.  I have one sitting next my my couch, having read it half way (and liked it) & not having touched it in a month or more.  On the other hand, the remote sits next to it and I'll use it to turn on the TV even when nothing I like is on.  I'll sit thru episodes of Bones instead (not a bad series, but really, next to reading a Henning Mankell mystery??).


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#7 Wilfrid

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 08:57 PM

Folks is different, I guess.  I find it much harder to sit through a TV show or a movie, unless it's really gripping, than to finish just an okay book.

 

Personally, I generally get much more sheer pleasure out of an average book than I do out of a good movie. 



#8 Wilfrid

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:01 PM

For example, I just finished Jean-Claude Izzo's Marseilles trilogy.  Noir thrillers, with some cultural and political pretensions, but certainly not exceptional pieces of writing.  But I enjoyed them and read them very quickly.

 

Meanwhile, I seem to recall trying, then backing away from, some well-regarded TV series.  I am not even sure I can tell you which ones.



#9 Lex

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:01 PM

Steve, maybe one day it will change for you.  You're a smart curious person with a wide range of interests.  Maybe some book or topic will come along which will interest you enough to get back into reading.

 

And don't be afraid to read trashy stuff.  It might get you started.


“I have a dream of a multiplicity of pastramis.”

"Why can't a horse fuck another horse and then race a few days later? Sort of like a boxer." - Joethefoodie

"once the penis came out, there was discussions as to why we didn't order the testicles" - Daniel describing a meal in China


#10 Steve R.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:09 PM

Lex: maybe, but not likely.  Right up there with staying out to see a late concert.  Just ain't me anymore, even though I'm missing some damn good live music.

 

Wilf: it was actually lurking on the "what are you currently reading" thread and noticing all the books you and others are reading that got me thinking about this.  I coupled it with your profound lack of knowledge of lightweight TV series and realized I was going down a different path.  One that I'm not sure why I'm on, but I'm not having a bad time on it either.


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#11 Wilfrid

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:12 PM

Not everyone has to read, and I can identify with you on the live concerts too. 



#12 Steve R.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:13 PM

Not everyone has to read, and I can identify with you on the live concerts too. 

 

Thanks.  Now, if only Mongo would tell me that I'm ok.


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#13 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:18 PM

Meanwhile, I seem to recall trying, then backing away from, some well-regarded TV series.  I am not even sure I can tell you which ones.


Every time I try to watch any of the highly touted "new Golden Age" TV shows, I just can't. I never make it past 15 minutes.

I'm not trying to make myself seem superior. It's a character tick, not an aesthetic determination. I just much prefer reading or listening to music. (BFD)
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#14 Steve R.

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:21 PM

 

Meanwhile, I seem to recall trying, then backing away from, some well-regarded TV series.  I am not even sure I can tell you which ones.


Every time I try to watch any of the highly touted "new Golden Age" TV shows, I just can't. I never make it past 15 minutes.

I'm not trying to make myself seem superior. It's a character tick, not an aesthetic determination. I just much prefer reading or listening to music.

 

 

Yep, when we were up at Stone's place, I mentioned to him (& her) that there you were reading for hours on end & here Stone and I were, figuring out what we could get on his cable-less TV.  When we weren't eating or out playing tennis (no, not you or Stone… he was woodworking... or just hiding in the garage).


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#15 Sneakeater

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 09:24 PM

THAT'S what we need: hobbies!
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