The tech set has been a-flutter with news that book publisher Macmillan got into a tiff with Amazon about e-book pricing. The techsters seem to think the casualties in the skirmish over price points and who gets to set them will leave writers and readers as collateral damage. Amazon wants to charge $10 for its e-book downloads to Kindle and Macmillan wants to charge $15. Today it seems like they’re splitting the diff.
Disputes are bad for business…Savvy “Silicon Valley Watcher,” says either way, disputes like this aren’t good for e-readers and e-book markets. “It will stunt this young, emerging market because it points out that fragmentation in e-reader markets will require multiple devices. With Apple’s iPad we already have two e-readers with separate libraries. And there will be many more e-readers coming onto the market.”
Walking, chewing gum … However this disruption gets worked out, the technology is still running behind the possible. And, writers and artists are losing out. Let’s have multiple price points and use e-readers that can handle VOOKs! An e-book with embedded icons that provide more info, music, videos when you click on them.
You can get the book trailer, author interview, photo slide shows, historical background, etc. all at once — a full menu of fun and information, making reading a book a multi-media experience. You can choose to stay with the text or make it something more — a virtual world. We’re starting to get there — take a look at Joyce Maynard’s book launch last week — book in paper/e version, audio book, back story, photo montage, the whole shootin’ match. We’re moving toward the next universe at warp speed.
There’s also the idea of having quick downloads, such as a selection of short stories from the New Yorker, or a favorite author on MP3 talking about their inspiration or creative process. If only we can find more publishers and retailers who are thinking this way and who are willing to pay writers and artists for the content, instead of acting like rug salesmen at a dusty bizarre.
We’ll see . . .