Tag: Amazon

Macmillan and Amazon in spat over e-book pricing

Amazon has taken all e-books published by Macmillan off its Kindle e-reader site because of an argument the two companies are having over pricing.

A lass using a Kindle, from Kindle web siteAccording to reports, Macmillan issued a statement yesterday saying that its CEO, John Sargent, had visited Amazon HQ to try and broker new terms and conditions and on his return from that meeting was told that its e-books would only be listed as available through third parties.

Sources indicated that Macmillan had wanted to price its e-book editions at $15 rather than the $9.99 price Amazon wanted to sell them for.

Last week Macmillan became one of the publishing partners for the Apple iPad. Apple has plans to allow publishers to set their own prices for books, and that price is likely to be around $15.

Amazon wants to keep the prices of e-books for the Kindle at $9.99 – and it’s likely this Macmillan-Amazon spat may well spread to other publishers too.

Amazon.com revenue flies up

Everyone’s favourite seller of consumer goods Amazon.com has declared that revenue in the fourth quarter grew by 42% year over year, rising from a miserly $6.7 billion  to $9.52 billion. Amazon’s net profit also grew nicely in the final quarter, from $225 million in 2008 to $384 million in 2009. The kind and loving corporation stated it profited from favourable exchange rates – sans better rates it would have grown merely 37 percent in the quarter.

The fourth quarter accounted for the major part of Amazon’s turnover. Punters seem to enjoy buying Christmas presents online, instead of having to stand toe-to-toe in ubercrowded stores, shops and warehouses. At least in this part of Europe, where internet-savvy citizens prefer to stay home and buy via Amazon than to venture forth into streets crowded by hundreds and thousands of tourists visiting the traditional, oh-so pretty Christmas market to get drunk on hot wine punch, wear silly Christmas hats and generate a ruckus rather annoying to mild-mannered, sophisticated humanities students who merely want a nice, warm cup of coffee to warm their hands whilst reading Horkheimer, Adorno, Habermas and the good old French sociologists.

Revenue grew by over $5 billion in the full year, rising from $19.2 billion to $24.5 billion. All in all, Amazon posted a profit of $902 million in 2009, compared to $645  million one year earlier. North America still accounted for over half the sales. Electronics were most in demand in the USA, whereas punters overseas mainly bought books and DVDs from the online retailer.

Jeff Bezos, the clever guy who started Amazon.com, stated that millions of people actually bought Kindles. Apparently six Kindle books are sold for every 10 real books (made of paper), if both editions are available. Amazon refrained stating the actual number of shipped units, or sold digital books.

War breaks out again between Google Books and Amazon

Amazon let rip with an objection to a revised settlement proposed over Google Books and a monopoly it might hold on digital books.

Amazon said yesterday that the proposed agreement is in violation of the US Copyright Act, and that the settlement would give Google rights that would effectively lead to a monopoly.

And Google doesn’t only have to worry about Amazon and publishers – a Berkeley academic on behalf of a clutch of authors also objected to the settlement, pointing out that the rights of authors and publishers and the procedures for settling disputes could not realistically be handled by the settlement of a class action.

Groups against the settlement have until today to make their objection to the district court.

Whether the judge in charge of the case allows the objections to the revised settlement to stand, there’s a possibility that the US Justice Department may well throw in its oar. It’s already agreed that the proposed settlement raised  questions about copyright that should not really be handled in a class action case.

Amazon backs down and settles antitrust case

Mighty bookseller Amazon has backed down from its demand that print on demand (POD) publishers have to start paying it money to print books.

Amazon said that if the POD people didn’t pay to print the books, it would remove the buy it now buttons from its website.

That caused an online revolt among some publishers, although others bit the Amazon bullet and signed on the Amazon/Booksurge bottom line.

The case went to court and while Amazon failed to dismiss the litigation, Amazon has finally settled.

The final settlement is here – Amazon has buckled under. It’s a big victory for independent publishers.

Amazon will pay Boocklocker’s costs of $300,000. There’s comment on the case, here.

Buy yourself a space shuttle from NASA

If you’re minted and can’t be bothered to wait for Virgin Galactic to “take off,” you might do well to grab yourself a space shuttle from NASA.

Yes, we’re not quite out of the recession yet, and NASA is painfully aware. Thinking quick on its toes, the space geeks signed up to Craigslist* and listed all of its space shuttles for sale. It’s good news for eccentric, galaxy-obsessed multiple trillionaires with a tight budget: the shuttles are down from a huge $42 million to a cool, wallet friendly $28.8 million. They will go on sale as soon as the International Space Station is completed, says the New Scientist.

If you’re a lowly-waged simpleton, New Scientist suggests grabbing a space shuttle main engine off NASA for FREE (plus P&P). You’d better be quick though, while a hot tip now, it’s only a matter of time before the bargain-hunting whizzes at MoneySavingExpert clock on and stick the shuttles in their newsletter.

* EyeSee: When TechEye was merely a twinkle in JAM IT Media’s collective eyes, it was called Project X. With funding, Project X was going to be a mission to send the first tech journalist to the moon. JAM IT couldn’t get the funding, so settled for starting TechEye instead.

*Inaccurate at date of publishing

Ocado to review chickens and cheese

Like other online shopping megamarts, Amazon.com has a ‘review’ space for all manner of consumer goods. Want to know if this lawnmower’s any good, or if that hat isn’t as warm as it looks? Take a look at user reviews. Ocado.com, the online UK supermarket, has spotted a gap and will be implementing a similar service for groceries.

All Ocado customers will get a mailout next week inviting Ocado Demand and Ocado Reserve customers to start adding grocery reviews, be it roast chicken, cheese, Dr Pepper, wine or whatever. The service will then go live to all customers in February.

It’s an interesting idea. Much of the online shopping middle class decides on what wine’s best for when from recommendations in Sunday Supplements and the likes. We’re not suggesting said supplements take pay-offs, but a purely user-based review system could swing things for the consumer.

Everything stocked on Ocado’s shelves will be available for review. That includes non-food lines too, such as toys, flowers, magazines and kitchenware. Think these flowers are crap and died too quick? Tell the world!

Social media channels will be incorporated too, including Facebook and Twitter. Instead of simply telling all your fascinated followers what you’ve just had for lunch, you’ll be able to tell them if the Hovis you used was subpar or not too.