The dispute between Amazon and Macmillan is interesting but oddly founded. The assumption in the trade is that Amazon is artificially subsidising the price of eBooks to offset the very high cost (299-699 USD) of their eBook reader, the Kindle, and that the publishers (Macmillan, in this case) are trying to keep the price of eBooks artificially high so as not to impact their print sales. Thus, both parties are in the ‘wrong’ as far as pricing is concerned (but not as far as their respective, very traditional, business models are concerned).

What was interesting, though, was Amazon’s response to the launch of the Apple iPad Read the rest of this entry »

This is a slightly edited version of part of my input to a discussion on a publishing forum.

People seem to either love or hate the big publishers and either support or are contemptuous of the self-publishing fraternity. Publishing is a business and there are simply two different business models here.

The big (traditional) publishers are operating with a very well established but inflexible business model that relies heavily of bringing out as many books as possible so that they obtain volume-based market share. Their competitive advantage is their professionalism, their financial clout, and their access to the book-retailing sector combined with their extensive market intelligence. Their competitive disadvantages are their incredibly slow product development cycle (the time it takes to bring a new book to market) and their very poor product acquisition strategies (how they actually find new authors/books that will give them market share or the greatest publicity).

The small publishers (and that is what self-publishers are) have a more flexible business model that Read the rest of this entry »