The NYTimes had an interesting article on Sunday from David Carr writing about an author, Buzz Bissinger, who had a book promotion going on with Apple that Amazon matched and thus must somehow be evil.
…Apple, which had been looking to get into shorter works in a digital format, decided to include e-books in a promotion that it does with Starbucks. It selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book. (Mr. Bissinger said he still received a royalty of $1.50 for each copy sold.)
Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for “After Friday Night Lights” to exactly zero. Byliner withdrew the book from Amazon’s shelves, saying it did so to “protect our authors’ interest.”
Mr. Bryant, who formerly edited a sports magazine for The New York Times, said that Amazon’s “price bot” had picked up the fact that the book was being given away as part of a weeklong promotion and responded by dropping its price to zero. (In an e-mail later, Mr. Bryant said that when the company told Amazon about the promotion, before it began, Byliner was warned the price might drop to zero. But, he said, “we hoped that wouldn’t happen.” It did.)
See full article at Byliner Takes Bissinger’s E-Book Off Amazon – NYTimes.com.
I love this article, for a very sick reason — I am really surprised that in all the reactions to the article, nobody at all seems to have noticed anywhere in the blogosphere the irony of the promotion.
With the pre-Agency debacle, Amazon was selling ebooks at a discount but giving royalties as if it had been the publisher-set price. This was apparently going to “destroy” publishing so Apple+5 did the collusion thing to “STOP AMAZON”, who was “obviously” the bad guy.
Here, Apple teams with Starbucks to do a “discount promotion”, yet still give Byliner same royalties. For those keeping track, that is the same as what Amazon was doing, without the Starbucks logo involved. Yet, somehow, again, AMAZON IS THE BAD GUY!
Let’s make sure we’re all up to date here — if Amazon does their discount model, they’re the bad guy. If someone else does it, Amazon is still the bad guy.
Because, you know, price-matching is obviously evil. Just as it was with Sears, Macy’s, The Bay, Walmart, K-mart, just about every large grocery store, fastfood stores, FutureShop, BestBuy.
But really, Amazon is to blame. After all, it’s not like they TOLD the publisher they would price-match. Oh wait, they did.