Amazon has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Seattle against the North Carolina Department of Revenue charging that its demand that Amazon turnover the names and addresses of all residents who bought anything from the e-tailer since 2003 is an invasion of privacy and a violation of the First Amendment. The request by North Carolina is part of that state's efforts to collect sales tax on items purchased by North Carolina residents from Amazon. In the complaint, Amazon also said North Carolina is demanding it turnover records of what each customer purchased and how much they paid.
When North Carolina first announced its plans to collect sales tax from online retailers, Amazon closed down the affiliates program in the state, arguing that without that program the state had no nexus to collect sales tax.
Publishers Weekly reports.
The professor, his wife, and the secret, savage book reviews on Amazon
An extraordinary literary "whodunnit" over the identity of a mystery reviewer who savaged works by some of Britain's leading academics on the Amazon website has culminated in a top historian admitting that the culprit was, in fact, his wife.
Jay Garmon writes in The New Sleekness about ebooks, branding, authors and publishers. If only Marshall McLuhan were alive today...
"A solid brand is the only way anyone is going to make sustainable money, long term, directly from e-book sales. This is not to say that e-books will sell in the same numbers, or for the same prices, as physical books. This is also not to say that e-book publishing houses are going to look anything like physical book publishing houses. This is simply an argument that the only value that the consumer is going to consistently place on an e-book is its brand value.
e-book pricing is viewed by many consumers as wildly out of step with the perceived value of the product. No matter how you parse the numbers or sketch out production costs or trot out sob stories of how scandalously little money the average writer makes, consumers simply don’t perceive an intangible good as having the same value as a tangible good. Thus, if you want e-books to sell, you simply can’t price them the same as physical books. It doesn’t matter if it’s reasonable. It doesn’t matter if it’s fair. To turn a profit in a competitive market economy, a producer is obligated to deliver a product at a price lower than the perceived consumer value. If Producer A (in this case established publishing houses) can’t do it, Producer B (some new e-book publisher, like maybe Amazon itself ) will do so."
Truth is stranger than April Fools.
Following up on what was expressed in the Shelf-Awareness April 1st edition as the "buy or bye" button
...key among the changes: all book titles listed on Amazon will have "bye" buttons next to the "buy" buttons, only one of which can be activated at a time...
Penguin and Amazon have failed to reach an agreement over terms of sale. As a result, Penguin e-books released beginning today will not be available at the Kindle store. E-books released prior to April 1 are still for sale at the $9.99 price.
Penguin CEO David Shanks explained that Penguin has reached new terms of sale agreements with a number of e-booksellers, but not Amazon. "Our conversations with Amazon are ongoing and we do hope to continue our long-time relationship with them," Shanks said. Shanks noted that new Penguin e-books "are available through Barnes and Noble.com, Sony, Kobo, eBooks.com, reader applications on the iPhone and soon on the iBookstore for the iPad. Additionally, we're working with our digital delivery partners (Ingram, Overdrive, and Baker & Taylor) to make your eBooks even more widely available."
Publishers Weekly reports.
Shelf-Awareness on the first of the new month for your viewing pleasure:
Brave New Book World: Adapting to the Coup d'Etat/Apple Shines with iTie iNs/Borders' New Two-for-One Deal/Never-Ending Conference Becomes a Reality/Amazon Opens Northern Front
...also an ad for "Thin Thighs in Thirty Days", which claims NOT to be an April fool if you can believe it...
Rumors swirled today that Amazon (AMZN) could revoke the buy buttons for books by Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, or Hachette if the major publishers can't strike an eBook deal with the online bookseller.
Neither Amazon nor the publishers went on the record about the eBook pricing debate. However, the New York Times has spoken with unnamed publishing executives about the terms of the eBook deal--noting that major publishers are "reluctant" to strike this kind of deal: "Amazon has agreed in principle that the major publishers would be able to set prices in its Kindle store as well. But it is also demanding that they lock into three-year contracts and guarantee that no other competitor will get lower prices or better terms."
Around the Internet, various commentators weighed in. eBookNewser noted that "it's a war out there" also reporting on Amazon's quiet launch of a Kindle App for the Mac.
NYTimes: Amazon.com has threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books, according to two industry executives with direct knowledge of the discussions.
The hardball approach comes less than two months after Amazon shocked the publishing world by removing the “buy” buttons from its site for thousands of printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, in a dispute over e-book pricing.
In what is apparently an effort to correct the glitch that caused the wild discounting of graphic novels on Amazon.com, the online retailer has been forced to remove the buy buttons from all comics publishers distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors. Right now, graphic novels from Marvel, IDW, Dark Horse, Archaia, Image Comics, Top Shelf and others—comics publishers distributed by Diamond—cannot be purchased on Amazon.com except through resellers.
While neither Amazon nor Diamond has commented officially on the situation, there has been speculation that the glitch was caused by Diamond. The current development seems to confirm it.