Fuck you, Macmillan!

Edit: OK, I went off half-cocked without having the real story on the post that follows.  I will leave it in it’s original form but add to the end what I was just forwarded to me by Thomas Crow (and thanks for that!) (edits in bold)…

A couple of months ago I was going to Luke AFB for a work-related school.  I was going to be there for a month, so I decided to get a Kindle, instead of packing a bunch of books to take with me.  The trip gave me the excuse to do what I wanted to do, anyway: buy a Kindle.  Got the Kindle, downloaded some books on it, and off I went.

It took some getting used to.  I kept wishing there were pages numbers (instead of percentages) and I missed the physical feel of holding a book in my hand.  The screen took some getting used to but I got there, even though I would still occasionally suddenly realize I was reading an electronic book and not an actual one.  That would disorient me and cause the spell the book was casting over me to be temporarily lost.  I accepted these drawbacks as the quid pro quo for having easy access to so many books in such a small container.

When I got back home I found myself using the Kindle less and less.  I just preferred real books.  I kept the Kindle in my car for those times when it was handy access to my choice of books: waiting at an office, stuck at a long light, lunch break at work, whatever.  I was trying to still get some use from it.

One of the persuading factors in my purchase of the Kindle was that most new release books were only $9.95.  That would save you roughly 60% of the price for a physical book, and you could download the books in under a minute.  Sweet!

However, in the past few months I’ve noticed that $9.95 price disappearing.  I was reminded of this quite harshly when I saw Neil Gaiman has a new anthology coming out.  I wanted to get it for my Kindle because short stories are perfect on it.  Well, I went to the link and saw it was $14.95 for it.

$14.95 for a book you for which you will never have a physical copy.  True, when you purchase it you can download it to your computer, for some sense of permanence, but you will never have that book in your hands.  What the fuck?  This reminds me of when CDs first stared gaining popularity and the prices went up.  At least with the CDs, though, you were getting something physical to keep (although it was a smaller, less personality-filled version of the LP, but I digress).  With this, I get nothing for my increased price.  It can’t be justified by expenses; in fact I can’t see a way where the booksellers aren’t making MORE from this format, because there is no printing involved.  Just a file being sent.  Fuck, the hardcover is available for $18.47!  For less than $4 more you can get the real thing.

What the fuck?  It’s just price-gouging because they think/hope people will pay for it.  Not me.  A few months ago I was looking for an excuse to buy a Kindle, and amazon.com got me.  Now, I found a reason to leave it behind, except for books I can get for free for future business trips.

Long live real books!


Edit: Apparently this wasn’t amazon.com’s fault, but Macmillan publishing’s.  See the link that follows:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/technology/companies/01amazonweb.html

Excerpt:

After a weekend of brinksmanship, Amazon.com on Sunday surrendered to a publisher and agreed to raise prices on some electronic books.

Amazon shocked the publishing world late last week by removing direct access to the Kindle editions as well as printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, which had said it planned to begin setting higher consumer prices for e-books. Until now, Amazon has set e-book prices itself, with $9.99 as the default for new releases and best sellers.

Amazon did what that could and then capitulated.  My ire was definitely misdirected.  Fuck you, Macmillan!  I won’t be buying this book after all.  Instead, I ordered a Paul Gilbert CD.  Take that!

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