Monday, March 12, 2012

Make Mine Nook

                       Sexy Nook Tablet

For the last two years, I've considered asking for an e-reader for Christmas. Either the Kindle or Nook. Usually I end up getting bogged down in system stats and app options before finally deciding to get something else. But in the most recent podcast of Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, I heard something that settled the argument for me. They discussed the recent dropping of 4,000 e-books by Amazon after a pricing dispute with Independent Publishing Group (IPG). Apparently, IPG wasn't willing to meet Amazon's demand to cut their slice of the publishing pie and fork it over to Amazon.

As a result of Amazon's decision, Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) is redirecting all of their links away from Amazon to other distributors for these books. Any SFWA authors with books still available exclusively from Amazon will retain their links, but when available, purchase options are being directed away from the Amazon site.

Now, I understand that no one made the affected authors sign with IPG, one of the largest independent distributors in the United States. And certainly you can't blame anyone from wanting to make money from book sales. But this recent price war has dropped Amazon, in my mind, from Robin Hood status to knuckle-dragging thug. It's one thing when Amazon attacks the publishing price structure to lower e-books to prices under $10, entirely another when they slash at a distributor (punishing the authors who signed with them) to increase their own profits.

Maybe I'm not entirely understanding the issue, but when Amazon drops 4,000 books, it looks a whole lot like a strong-arm tactic over who gets the cash. Publishers do have to account for the value added features they bring to a book, but believe me, I don't for a second think that Amazon has spent one dime to get these 4,000 books ready for publication. They are exclusively going after more money that, frankly, I don't think they deserve.

So I've decided a few things:

1 - When I can help it, I won't be purchasing anything from and encourage you to do the same.
2 - I'm going to write Amazon and let them know their decision has effected my purchase dollars.
3 - When I buy an e-reader, it'll be a Nook.

That said, now I have to worry about the life of the Nook. Back in January, Barnes and Noble announced it is considering selling off their Nook division. This really makes me worry about why Barnes and Noble would sell off their biggest cash cow since... well... Harry Potter and Twilight.

It could be a good thing and might improve current problems with the Nook. Mainly, the time it takes to e-publish on them and app diversity. But overall, will the new owners have the cash to fund the Nook's power struggle with the Kindle and the gorilla in the corner?

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