Has Amazon won or lost the e-book war? Both.

Amazon’s battle with book publisher Macmillan was a valiant attempt to retain control over pricing in the rapidly changing world of e-books, but its weekend display of brinksmanship was short-lived. The online retailer yanked Macmillan books from its virtual shelves — both e-books and regular books — on Friday, triggering an online flame war with Macmillan authors and many of their supporters, but by Sunday night Amazon had capitulated and agreed to accept Macmillan’s new pricing model.

The unseen actor in this little mini-drama, of course, was Apple. With the launch of the iPad, the consumer electronics giant tilted the balance of power in the e-book market decisively away from former leader Amazon, even though Apple’s device isn’t shipping yet. The company also negotiated a new payment structure with publishers like Macmillan, which is being referred to as the “agency model.”

Please read the rest of this post at GigaOm

7 thoughts on “Has Amazon won or lost the e-book war? Both.

  1. The real people losing are Amazon international customers, since it is getting even more difficult for Amazon to get clearance to sell us books. Apple sells ZERO books to Canadians, but Amazon sells only a tiny fraction to Canadians of what it does to Americans. It's all these stupid one-by-one deals that are the problem. I say: quit messing around–all of you–and start selling people the books they want. My patience is at an end.

    • I agree, Vanessa — geo-blocking of that kind of stuff is so infuriating, and is probably one of the biggest single forces driving copyright infringement.

  2. The advantage that I see is leverage and scalability. Through software, your knowledge can generate value for more and more clients without you having to scale your own workload linearly.

  3. Gotta love the “agency model”. I recently wrote on the matter here http://bit.ly/9jpFBP with attribution to your recent piece on Sargent. Sad thing is, what you see in publishing and media in general is the tip of the iceberg as compared to more relevant industries and institutions. Lots of dinosaurs erecting barriers to progress.

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