Publishers Display Their Online Pricing Acumen

September 6, 2015

I have returned from PEI (Prince Edward Island, gentle reader). The modest traffic and the weight of fresh mussels are behind me. I learned that mussels in PEI were one third the price of those available from the fish monger in Harrod’s Creek. There is something to this pricing thing.

Perched in a comfortable gray plastic zero coefficient of friction chain in Chicago’s wonderful airport, I read “E-Book Sales Fall After New Amazon Contracts.” The main idea is that some big boys and girls in upmarket publishing houses worked overtime to get pricing control of their eBooks on Amazon.

According to the write up:

“The new business model for e-books is having a significant impact on what [the big] publishers report,” said one publishing executive. “There’s no question that publishers’ net receipts have gone down.”

What does this suggest to me? Three items:

First, the business analyses of these large outfits did not deliver oodles of dough. No surprise. Amazon prices the Google way: Data with a frosting of what sure seems like distinctly subjective behavior.

Second, the Amazon reality is that eBooks have less value than the good, old fashioned, dead tree versions. Er, streaming music exists, right?

Third, the big boys and girls continue to demonstrate their deep understanding of the world of zeros and ones.

No surprise.

Stephen E Arnold, September 6, 2015


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