Adding to the discussion of e-book pricing earlier this week, the always insightful Mike Shatzkin of The IdeaLogical Blog rethinks the controversy and comes to the conclusion that the move to delay e-books is not about fear of cannibalizing hardcover sales (which, as Miriam argued, does not sound like an effective strategy) but about wresting control of the future of e-books from Amazon. Publishers cannot collude on e-book pricing legally, and thus far Amazon has been in charge of the whole shebang. But if publishers withhold product, they take back some of the power from retailers and put it back in their own (and, as an extension, the authors’) hands, not just on those specific books, but for the future. I’m still thinking this through, but I’m intrigued by the argument, and I’ve long agreed with many people that we as an industry have been heading down a dangerous path here—one that puts publishers at risk in the same way MP3s damaged music studios that underestimated and responded poorly to a change in the way their world worked. So what do you think? Is Shatzkin giving the publishers too much credit here for the hidden agenda, or is it a very savvy move that’s been a long time coming? Or, alternatively, is this as nonsensical as doing it for fears of siphoning sales?
Power, not sales