Barnes & Noble: Ebooks Should Be Expensive So Amazon Won't Kill Us And Make Ebooks Expensive

from the got-that? dept

Joe Betsill points us to the news that Barnes & Noble is the latest to weigh in on the price-fixing case against Apple and some publishers over ebook pricing. It's really bizarre. At best, it can be summed up as "we have to stop Amazon from offering cheap books, because if they do that, then we (Barnes & Noble) might go out of business, and then Amazon would be all alone and it might raise prices." Yes, the argument is that we're better off having expensive ebooks today, because if we don't, we might have expensive books in the future. I'm still trying to figure out how that makes any sense. At all.


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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:07am

    It makes perfect sense when framed with, we don't want to make less money.
    We like how much money we earn.
    It doesn't matter that our costs went down, we always get this much so we always should get this much.

    Isn't it nice seeing how the marketplace regulates itself for the benefit of society? *falls out of chair laughing*

     

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      Anonymous Cowherd, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:52am

      Re:

      In this case the marketplace would regulate itself for the benefit of society, were it not for government interference AKA copyright dictating who can distribute what.

       

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      gorehound (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:23am

      Re:

      Great reason to justify the fact I never gave them one bit of Business.
      Nothing but a big mall store and I have always chosen the cozy little Bookstore over the big corporate mall store.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 11:24am

      Re:

      I wish it were only about making the same amount of money...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:15am

    This is clear basically

    1. Sell ebooks more exspensive than real books
    2. Complain about compitition.
    3. ???
    4. Profit

     

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      xenomancer (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:02am

      Re:

      Yep, they can't even compete with the underpants gnomes. Look how much more complicated their business model is. A whole extra phase?!?!?!?!?

       

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    Nrbl, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:20am

    Wrongly quoting B&N

    You're attacking a straw-man by selectively quoting B&N.

    Look at the graph in B&N's filing showing DECLINING average ebook price AFTER the shift to agency model
    http://cdn.arstechnica.net//wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Screen-Shot-2012-06-07-at-10.16.52-AM. png

    Read more here -
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/06/barnes-noble-claims-price-fixing-settlement-will-raise -e-book-prices/


    Please don't twist views/opinions of other parties to suit your own objectives!

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:40am

      Re: Wrongly quoting B&N

      Part of their argument seems to be that their brick and mortar locations will suffer, but I can not find anything in the Nook faq about purchasing ebooks at a brick and mortar location.

      Average price weighted by units sold. I see a line, I see prices on "average" with some declines, but no way to quantify the number of units sold.

      I miss dead tree books, so much easier to deal with. I buy it, its mine. If I want to loan it out, ok. If I want to sell it, ok. ebooks are easier to store, but offer none of the same benefits while asking prices on par with dead tree versions.

       

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        Head&shoulders, Jun 23rd, 2012 @ 4:56am

        Re: Re: Wrongly quoting B&N

        @Anonymous Coward jun 11th, ebooks offer adjustable font, and you can sit at home on your fat butt and download books instead of driving around wasting gas, looking for a parking space, fighting traffic OR even waiting for a mail delivery! You own an Ereader? then you are part of a priviledged few who have the money to do that (or someone has money to give it to them). And you all have some of the worst attitudes I've ever seen fron consumers. I don't see eBooks lasting, honestly. At least from a writer's perspective. The novelty is wearing off & this is just a poorly paid headache now.

         

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      The eejit (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:40am

      Re: Wrongly quoting B&N

      From the second link:

      "By requiring that distributors set e-book prices and limiting the ability of publishers to do so, the proposed settlement consolidates pricing in a highly concentrated sector of the industryóinstead of the unconcentrated, competitive sector of publishers," Barnes & Noble said. "Unable to compete with below-cost pricing, e-book distributors will drop from the e-book space."

      The graph in the first link also says " weighted by units sold". Does that includes, for example, Baens Free-book offering as sales, or as promotionals?

      And the irony of your last line is that certain elements repeatedly lie, cheat and steal in order to obtain their objectives, at the expense of the general public.

       

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      techinabox (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:52am

      Re: Wrongly quoting B&N

      That chart is useless. It provides no contextual information.

      Is it only B&N prices or all prices?
      Does it include Public Domain books offered for free through ebook stores?
      Does it include Amazon self published ebooks?

      If it includes either free books or Amazon self publishes than that chart is almost completely without merit.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:16am

      Re: Wrongly quoting B&N

      Well, no matter how expertly you try to spin it, essentially, they told the world how they view ebook pricing.
      So, for their renouncement to the world "Screw the customers.", I reply, "Fine, I will never buy another thing from B&N and will assuredly tell every single person I know why."

      I do not dispute you nicely crafted reading of their business plan. I simply reject B&N.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 2:56pm

      Re: Wrongly quoting B&N

      You might explain what, and why, you think the opinion stated in this piece is 'twist(ing) the views/opinions of other parties to suit (Mike's) own objectives'...

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:40am

    Well...

    I want cheap ebooks, but the general idea discussed here isn't new or incorrect (though I can't speak for ebooks):

    In Australia large supermarket chains force smaller stores out of business by running at tiny margins, or even a loss, and then when competition is removed they jack their prices up. It's well publicised here.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:47am

      Re: Well...

      Last I heard, Barnes and Noble wasn't a smaller business. They have 723 stores (according to Wikipedia).
      No this is a case of two giant corporations clashing. Not of the large supermarket vs the mom and pop store.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:59am

      Re: Well...

      It is a common free market thesis that as soon as you have bankrupted your competition you raise prices.
      But the question is: How much of the market segment can be transfered from brick and mortar to digital, anyway? Somehow there are still vinyl record producers out there and they are doing fine in an increasing market.
      Books are not films or music. The experience from a real book is worth a lot more than the experience from a CD or DVD to most people. There may be less room for the expensive publishers, but I do not think that books are about to die anytime soon and I still see plenty of competition possible between computer and sawmill.

       

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        Bwuhahah, Jun 23rd, 2012 @ 6:18am

        Re: Re: Well...

        @Well, what you just said made absolutely NO sense whatsoever. Talk about blowing a lot of hot air. that what just a lot of words squished together that had no merit and made no logical sense. For example, producers are still making VINYL - as in RECORDS for a Record player??? Okay then which electronics stores have you walked into that sells record players??? Best Buy? Walmart? Radio Shack? None. You really expected to get that one past us? And don't try and name some rare electronics shop because producers aren't going to produce 5 copies of any goods to sell to 1 or 2 unique stores. Nice try.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2012 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: Well...

          Clearly you haven't picked up an issue of Sound & Vision magazine in the last decade.

          Vinyl is indeed still being produced, as are quality turntables. They're just not produced for the WalMart masses who don't/can't/won't appreciate the differences in sound between CD and vinyl.

          Just because something is in a connoisseur's niche that is well above the WalMart crowd, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. ;)

           

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:00am

      Re: Well...

      And there is also the idea that ebook sales just require a website and some infrastructure, not an entire location like a grocery store. If the large players drive out the "little" guy, then jack up prices they are setting themselves up for a new generation of "little" guys to move into the marketplace.

      The problem is the seller, the publisher, the author all expect to make the same money they always did and look for any possible way to keep that number high. They can charge $20 for an ebook and they will sell x, but they fear selling an ebook for $10 because they are sure they will not make as much, even if they move 2 times the units. Digital files don't offer them the same overhead being taken now for printing and shipping costs, so to maintain the same income they keep prices up.

      This ignores the cost of getting an ereader(s) into someones hands and one has to guess that Apple exclusive books are real low sellers for people with android devices.

      I see some of this being the same cries we hear from the music industry, they whine about declining CD sales while raking in the cash from mp3 sales. Sometimes technology makes delivering things cheaper, and you have to change the business model to keep up with the times.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:05am

      Re: Well...

      That's pretty common everywhere. My family owns a small grocery store in the States and we had suits from the then new Wal-Mart come in price shopping. (They were dead obvious since they're the only ones wearing suits who weren't a sales representative.) Sure enough, certain items like ground beef would be 1 penny less to satisfy their "Always low prices".

       

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        ChrisB (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:13am

        Re: Re: Well...

        You can't compete with Wal-Mart on price, but you can compete in service, quality, and selection. No one imports and sells shiny crap from China better. (Personally, I like shiny crap, which is why I shop at Wal-Mart. For locally-made high-quality crap, I shop at local stores.)

         

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      hegemon13, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:18am

      Re: Well...

      Today's "little guy" is piracy, and there is no way Amazon will drive it out of business. If Amazon jacked up prices to ridiculous levels, people would just turn to piracy. They HAVE to provide enough value and convenience for people, or people just won't pay at all.

       

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    fackter, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:02am

    [freetard]

    Thanks to Internet and bittorrent I never have to buy books anymore!!

    [/freetard]

     

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    Francisco, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:07am

    No, that is not what B&N said

    Barnes and Noble didn't actually said that. What really happened is that the Department of Justice reached an agreement with a couple of publishers that forbids the latter to enter into agency contracts (where they and not Amazon set the price to the consumer) for the next two years.
    What B&N actually said was.

    1. Agency agreements are perfectly legal.
    2. Amazon used to have 90% of the market and the ability to decide the price. Now that ability belong to a more competitive sector of the market (there are LOTS of publishers) and Amazon no longer has a 90% market share, now it has 60%.
    3. If Apple and a couple of publishers did indeed enter into an anti competitive the DOJ should punish them but not replace that agreement with regulation in a market that clearly is competitive. B&N gave evidence that the price both of hardcovers and ebooks has fallen.
    4. The ebook market is new. The state should not regulate it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:17am

      Re: No, that is not what B&N said

      I don't need B&N. I have many other, cheaper sources of quality Ebooks.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 1:12pm

      Re: No, that is not what B&N said

      Agency agreements are legal only when they aren't binding across all layers of a vertical or involve implicit collusion. The issue isn't the agency agreement, but in fact how the competitors behave in a manner contrary to competitive nature.

       

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    ComputerAddict (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:29am

    Free

    Barnes and Noble forgets that its biggest competitor is not Amazon, its free.

    Just this past week I was looking to buy an eBook of an older book series (1970s). I found and read the first book in the series on Google books, but a book published 8 years later was unavailable. So I went to Amazon... Nope, B&N...nope, so I did a Google search for the title and "ebook" the top 29 results were all ways to pirate that book, either PDF versions or an audio book library of the entire series. There was 1 result where I could have actually purchased the book, however, even that was illegal since it was only available in Europe and not the US. Now I really liked the first book I read, I really wanted to pay for it... but in the end the only place I could have purchased it would be to log on to a proxy server, and buy it on European Amazon.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:46am

      Re: Free

      And this is the biggest problem with copyright terms.
      Someone somewhere "owns" the rights to the series and has made little to no effort to make it available.
      So it sits and rots in a dark corner and most likely still won't make it into the public domain in our lifetimes.
      There is so much content out there, but they claim its not cost effective to make it available, instead letting it rot.

      There really needs to be a push made to tear down the silly divisions they artificially keep alive on the globe. We can send messages anywhere in the world in a flash, but we can't get a tv show across the globe in less than a week. We see it can be done, people are doing it everyday... why can't they?

       

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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:49am

    Stupid B&N

    I have owned *two* Nooks, and I also bought my wife one. I am seriously considering buying a Kindle, because of B&N's "screw the customer" attitude, especially regarding e-textbooks. (Though, Amazon's is only slightly better.)

    For B&N with e-textbooks, you are limited to how many computers (not devices, since last I checked the actual Nook and their apps weren't capable of displaying textbooks, by design) and they limit how many times you can download it, and how much you can copy and paste in a day.

    It's absolutely ridiculous. If I wanted to pirate the damn textbook, I would. I'm paying money, and I'm treated like a criminal.

    For the record, I only chose the Nook because it was built on Android. I foolishly forgot that Android != Open platform.

     

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      That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:03am

      Re: Stupid B&N

      and when they treat you like a criminal, they are surprised that you become a criminal.
      Once upon a time they were happy to treat you like a consumer, customers were kings.
      Now your just scum 2 seconds from stealing billions from them.

      They are so focused on dollars they might not get that they ignore what the people paying them want... and eventually even those people stop bothering.

       

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      Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:05am

      Re: Stupid B&N

      Android is an open platform, for the most part. It's just that on B&N's Nook(s) and Amazon's Kindle Fire the companies have altered it to the point that it is no longer Android.

      If you really wanted, depending on what Nook you have, I'd recommend you just hack it. I say depending on what Nook because there's the Nook Simple Touch, Nook Color, Nook Tablet, etc and I've heard all of them referred to by people as just "Nook".

      I hacked one recently, a Nook Color and threw Cyanogenmod 7 on it. At that point you can just do what you want. I know the Simple Touch is rootable as well (and it seems like much less work to root it).

      All I know is both companies have offerings and I price shop. If one has something cheaper I want I get it from them. Of course I have Calibre on my computer and I already added the tools to remove the DRM from my purchases (wherever they may be from). I then convert the DRM-free copies into my preferred format (ePub) and load them on my various devices (usually just my laptop, Nook Color and Nexus S 4G). But that's just me.

      I will say this, I looked into e-textbooks from B&N and completely agree with what you said. It's completely ridiculous the restrictions in place. I was going to "buy" one for a friend and after looking at all she couldn't do I just forked over the cash for a physical copy. Less restrictions (obviously) and she could do as she pleased with it. I then briefly considered acquiring a digital copy from somewhere to load on her Nook (since we already had purchased the physical one) but meh. She LOVED the physical copy since it's a book she needs but actually wanted even if she hadn't needed it.

       

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        The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re: Stupid B&N

        Yes, I should have specified that Android != open platform after a third party gets their hands on it.

         

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          Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Stupid B&N

          No problem, sir. I just wanted to clarify that point. Android is great, until a third party gets their hands on it. Then all it's pros are quickly changed to cons in the eyes of consumers like myself and at the hands of the third parties.

           

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:48am

      Re: Stupid B&N

      For the record, I only chose the Nook because it was built on Android. I foolishly forgot that Android != Open platform.

      My jail-broken Nook is both Android and an Open Platform. I even use Kindle on it. The nook software is available and runs fine on the Nook.

       

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        The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:11am

        Re: Re: Stupid B&N

        I rooted (the Android version of jailbreaking, btw) my first Nook, which was a Gen1, I think. I now have the "touch" Nook, which is just a simple ereader, and that's all I want. I usually read on my tablet or my phone, and reserve the ereader for when I'm reading in direct sunlight, like at a park or the beach.

        Either way, rooting my Nook won't magically allow it to work with the DRM'd textbooks. I recently purchased an ebook textbook from Amazon and stripped the weaker DRM from it, since Kindle's native app on my tablet doesn't support textbooks. (seriously, wtf?) The stripped/converted textbook was formatted horribly, and I didn't feel that I should have to go through, page by page and fix the ebook I paid money for. For this class, I'm just VNC to my computer at home and read it on the windows kindle app that supports the textbook.

        Rest assured, I will just buy the physical book and pirate the textbook from here on out. That first part may be optional. I'm pretty annoyed at the entire situation.

         

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          Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Stupid B&N

          If I may make a suggestion The Infamous Joe, look into this:

          http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1343143

          That's for the Nook Simple Touch, which is the version you have. If it's the e-ink one that is (which I'm sure it is based on your comment about reading in direct sunlight).

          I'm not quite sure if you'll be able to read the DRM'd textbooks on it, but you can search the forum and find out. (I may search on your behalf shortly.)

          As far as formatting errors, I should warn you that they tend to happen. Honestly, it's a crap shoot as far as which books will end up unreadable and which ones won't once you've removed the DRM. I've had that problem myself. If it's a book I really love and want to enjoy I'll just force myself to manually go through it correcting the errors. Sometimes though it's just horrible editing on the part of the publishers. I've actually written to several and told them about all the errors I found in their books, some have written back. One basically told me to get stuffed as I was not a professional editor (guess who I never bought from again), another thanked me for pointing out the errors (and then sent me FOR FREE a physical and digital copy of the book with the corrections made, and they now gladly get my money any time I find something worth reading of theirs).

           

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            The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Stupid B&N

            Thanks, I'll check that out, as that does appear to be my ereader type.

            The formatting issue is due to the format of the text book. For whatever reason, they throw little pockets of semi-unrelated information randomly on pages (I'm not entirely unconvinced it's not simply to cause trouble when changing formats!) Calibre sees these little blocks of unrelated text and tries to shoe-horn them into the main text. It's pretty much on every page of the textbook so far, so it would literally be every page I'd have to comb through to take out that crap.

             

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      Dreddsnik, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:48am

      Re: Stupid B&N

      " I am seriously considering buying a Kindle, because of B&N's "screw the customer" attitude, especially regarding e-textbooks. "

      That's not necessarily a good idea ....

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/technology/companies/18amazon.html Amazon remotely deletes 1984 and Animal Farm from Kindles.

      You might take THIS guts stance on this event ..

      http://betanews.com/2009/07/17/media-goes-crazy-over-amazon-deleting-1984-from-kindle-but-99-cent-eb ook-was-illegal-copy/

      But I think he misses the point. Amazon can monitor everything you read on that Kindle remotely, whether you want them to or not. While they relented and 'returned' the books, the fact that they are capable and willing to do this is a very big problem in IMO.

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re: Stupid B&N

        Amazon has nothing at all to do with my Kindle. I don't use the Wifi feature at all and I don't purchase ebooks. I use calibre to load e-books onto the device. With that, and the paper-like display, the Kindle is the best e-reader of them all.
        Still could be though. They could give it more memory or compatibility with SD cards, a larger and/or colour screen.

        So as you you can see, its pretty easy to avoid Amazon's remote deletion practices.

         

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          Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Stupid B&N

          While I agree that the Kindle is a great reader, I don't think it's the best e-reader of them all. Now, this is purely my opinion, as you gave yours that it is the best. I kind of prefer the B&N offerings due to their ePub reading ability (which is slowly but surely becoming the de facto standard for ebooks), built in expandable storage slot, and much more open source nature (while still locked down they are a bit easier to hack and root and whatnot in my opinion than Amazon's offerings).

          You are correct though, it's quite easy to avoid Amazon's remote deletion practices and they have the ability to greatly improve their Kindle devices. In fact, it sounds like they are based upon rumors I've read elsewhere. I like the competition between B&N and Amazon, keeps things great for the consumers. Both companies have their pros and cons as far as offerings (both in ebooks and devices) and I guess it comes down to what best suits you as far as who to buy from.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:45am

        Re: Re: Stupid B&N

        Amazon can monitor everything you read on that Kindle remotely

        How? I've turned of WIFI and transfer the few books I buy with Calibre and USB.

         

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          Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Stupid B&N

          They do so using "Whispernet". It's Amazon's free 3G connection to all Amazon devices. Sorry to say, even if you aren't using WiFi, Amazon still has a way of sending (or deleting or even monitoring) content to your device.

          I'm not sure if there's a way to block said connection entirely or not. I would think there is, but it would involve hacking your device (assuming it's a device that can be hacked).

          It is worth noting though that Whispernet is only available once you've registered your account. Else how would you get the content sent to your specific device. So if you never officially registered your device with Amazon and have only ever put content on it manually, then you should be safe. Although since I'm not 100% sure on that, I'd still look into the matter yourself if I were you.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Stupid B&N

            Not all the devices come with 3G. On my non-3G Kindle Touch, Whispernet is only active if I turn on the WiFi.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

      Re: Stupid B&N

      Don't. Get a Cruz, instead. All the benefits of Kindle Fire at a pricepoint of around $100.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 4:54am

    The marginal cost of ebook distribution is zero (0), so the only way to sell below-cost is to pay people to download them.

    When someone does that, I want to know.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:06am

      Re:

      First thing you've got to do with that is stop selling ebooks. Write and publish your ebooks, but sell something else at a price the customer is willing to pay: this will then (hopefully) cover the costs of publishing.
      I as a rule don't pay for ebooks, because I don't see any moral or ethical argument in favour of paying for them (trolls, don't bother with "but you're enjoying the book for free!!!" I counter that with the argument that public domain books can be enjoyed for free and no-one argues then for me to pay the author. Why is it okay for me to enjoy a PD book for free but a non PD book? What's the difference between the two? I also don't believe in any argument of obeying the author's wishes: once they've written their book and released it for public consumption, they've lost all control. If we as a society were to truly grant them the control they desire, it would mean harming society as a whole (what with having to install mandatory DRM on all devices and having to rewrite laws of economics to say the author retains control of a book even after the sale).

      In today's world, to succeed long term, find something scarce to sell. Ebooks are by definition non-scarce: they can be copied for free. Therefore, I see absolutely no harm in copying them. Find something else to sell, something that I am willing to buy. How about this: release a book or two, build up your reputation, then sell exclusive editorial access to your next book. That cannot be pirated at all.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:51am

        Re: Re:

        I as a rule don't pay for ebooks, because I don't see any moral or ethical argument in favour of paying for them (trolls, don't bother with "but you're enjoying the book for free!!!" I counter that with the argument that public domain books can be enjoyed for free and no-one argues then for me to pay the author.

        I enjoy books in the library for free often. The trolls have no valid argument unless they wish to go against the forefathers and outlaw libraries.

         

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          That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          they are trying... they are pricing them out and adding more limitations to ebook lending.

           

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            ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            they are trying... they are pricing them out and adding more limitations to ebook lending.

            I am not a big fan of regulation, but in this one case, this is where regulation should be used. Dicking around with the libraries should carry the death-penalty for corporations, all assets get transferred to the public domain, no last requests or a final meal, up to the gallows and be done with them. Of course, they have to stand trial and be convicted, and there is always the Microsoft escape parachute.

            It is so sad that we have to keep saving them from themselves.

             

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        Pay or get out, Jun 23rd, 2012 @ 6:27am

        Re: Re:

        @Rikuo, how about this: If you want something, pay for it or get out. Nobody in business is going to give you anything for free because that's not how people stay in business, that's how they go bankrupt. If an ebookj is not worth anything, why in the hell do you want it in the first place? Go back to print and be happy.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:56am

      Re:

      Yo u may wish to consider the payments for rights wish legitimate publishers are obliged to do.

       

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    Cory of PC (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:04am

    After reading this, I'm beginning to think that if I were to write and sell a book for everyone to read (instead of screwing the world over by holding it back), I would probably keep the book from selling at B&N and sell it exclusively on Amazon just to troll with them.

    If they, or anyone in general, keep this sort of mindset, it's probably likely that you're going to LOSE costumers to the competition, even your suppliers, all because you think it's better you get more money instead of selling a good or great product. For me, I will look for a different place to do my business if B&N cares about their money instead of the consumers. I would like to sell my works for a cheap price, maybe free if asked, and I will give when ask. If I can't give, then I will fight to make sure my work, and my word, gets out no matter what!

    ... Remind me again why we have anti-trust laws to begin with? I thought monopolies were illegal...

     

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      ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:57am

      Re:

      ... Remind me again why we have anti-trust laws to begin with? I thought monopolies were illegal...

      Monopolies aren't illegal. What you do with a monopoly may be, but a monopoly itself isn't. While capitalists hate monopolies, they are essentially a market of one competitor. There is nothing stopping another competitor from entering the market and thus destroying the monopoly. Now if the monopoly uses their position to unfairly destroy competition, then this is when it becomes illegal. Especially when you use your monopoly position in one market to attempt to gain a monopoly in another market (i.e. Microsoft using their monopoly position in the OS market to unfairly gain monopoly status in the browser market by killing off other browsers by making their OS prevent other browsers from operating on their OS.)

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:07am

        Re: Re:

        OK, that does clear things up a bit. I was wondering about that for some time now.

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          OK, that does clear things up a bit. I was wondering about that for some time now.

          Where it becomes a problem is when monopolies are artificial, such as where government creates them due to regulation such as "intellectual property" and "franchises". Natural monopolies, where a single corporation provides a product or service and has no competition is fine, because anyone can join the party and compete, and ultimately the monopolist either stays on top or someone else comes along with a better product and they are replaced. Artificial monopolies should be illegal, but they aren't since they operate using the model of anti-trust that others are prohibited from using. Anyone should be able to compete, but in these cases competition is outlawed by the government and the result is arrogant, entitled corporations that feel that they can screw over the customer and buy regulation to keep competitors out. They have no pressure to get any better, and the market stagnates.

           

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    iambinarymind (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:18am

    Lack of 'Cause & Effect'....

    It's so sad to constantly see the results of compulsory government schooling destroying logical/rational/critical thinking as well as destroying the understanding of objective cause & effect.

    Barnes & Noble people....please head on over to http://www.mises.org/ and learn yourself out of your economic ignorance. A great place to start is Henry Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson" (free PDF download).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    seems to me that Barnes & Noble are taking another leaf out of the entertainment industries book. rather than trying to compete in the selling world, do their best to get the competition restricted as much as possible instead. do they therefore think that people will buy from them at a higher price if Amazon is penalised? doubt not!

     

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    Ed Woychowsky, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:00am

    Free ebooks

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:04am

    I'm still trying to figure out how that makes any sense. At all.

    Let's let the helpful folks at Wikipedia sort out your bewilderment:

    "In the short term predatory pricing through sharp discounting reduces profit margins, as would a price war, and will cause profits to fall. There are various tests to assess whether the pricing is predatory: Areeda-Turner suggest it is below Short Run Marginal Costs, the AKZO case suggests it is costing below Average Variable Costs, and the case of United Brands suggests it is simply when the difference in cost between the cost of manufacturing and the price charged to consumers is excessive. Yet businesses may engage in predatory pricing as a longer term strategy. Competitors who are not as financially stable or strong may suffer even greater loss of revenue or reduced profits. After the weaker competitors are driven out, the surviving business can raise prices above competitive levels (to supra competitive pricing). The predator hopes to generate revenues and profits in the future that will more than offset the losses it incurred during the predatory pricing period. This is known as recoupment, but two recent decisions by the courts, Tetra Pak II and Wanadoo stated that this is not necessary for a finding of predatory pricing.
    In essence, the predator undergoes short-term pain for long-term gain. Therefore, for the predator to succeed, it must have sufficient strength (financial reserves, guaranteed backing or other sources of offsetting revenue) to endure the initial lean period. There must be substantial barriers to entry for new competitors.
    But the strategy may fail if competitors are stronger than expected, or are driven out but replaced by others. In either case, this forces the predator to prolong or abandon the price reductions. The strategy may thus fail if the predator cannot endure the short-term losses, either because of it requiring longer than expected or simply because it did not estimate the loss well.
    So the predator should hope this strategy to succeed only when it is substantially stronger than its competitors and when barriers to entry are high. The barriers prevent new entrants to the market replacing others driven out, thereby allowing supra competitive pricing to prevail long enough to dwarf the initial loss."

    And as far as US legal precedent: "Predatory pricing practices may result in antitrust claims of monopolization or attempts to monopolize. Businesses with dominant or substantial market shares are more vulnerable to antitrust claims. However, because the antitrust laws are ultimately intended to benefit consumers, and discounting results in at least short-term net benefit to consumers, the U.S. Supreme Court has set high hurdles to antitrust claims based on a predatory pricing theory. The Court requires plaintiffs to show a likelihood that the pricing practices will affect not only rivals but also competition in the market as a whole, in order to establish that there is a substantial probability of success of the attempt to monopolize.[3] If there is a likelihood that market entrants will prevent the predator from recouping its investment through supra competitive pricing, then there is no probability of success and the antitrust claim would fail. In addition, the Court established that for prices to be predatory, they must be below the seller's cost."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      Instead of plastering the comment section with a nearly unreadable wall of text, you could simply link to the article. That has two benefits:

      1- We don't get a seizure trying to read this mess
      2- We can verify the source(s) (plus that [3] over there looks really stupid without the footnote)

       

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      Benjo (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:13am

      Re:

      The truth is B&N can't compete on price because they are greedy. The marginal cost of an ebook is almost nothing.

      The whole idea that they could run out the "competition" is idiotic too. If they ran everyone out of business (lol, really) and then started jacking prices, it seems like piracy would increase and you'd see more players enter the market to provide what consumers want.

       

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        ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:39am

        Re: Re:

        The whole idea that they could run out the "competition" is idiotic too. If they ran everyone out of business (lol, really) and then started jacking prices, it seems like piracy would increase and you'd see more players enter the market to provide what consumers want.

        This is why the argument that Amazon will win and just raise prices is so totally bogus. If Amazon was able to put B&N out of business, and not B&N putting itself out of business by offering poor customer support and not providing the customer with a reason to buy from them, and Amazon manages to put everyone else out of business and raise the prices, someone else will come along and provide a better service (remember, it isn't always price that causes customers to buy from you, otherwise 7-Eleven and Starbucks would be out of business.) Capitalism is hard...colluding to raise the price of ebooks just to keep Amazon from running the incumbents out of business doesn't help anyone. This is the very definition of anti-trust...using the monopoly to keep out competition, where in this case the monopoly is copyright held by the publisher (they get to collude and set the price, and decide who distributes their product) and the competition is Amazon.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 10:48am

      Re:

      tl;dr

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    BNís argument makes perfect sense, they just arenít calling it the right thing.

    Itís not price fixing, itís dumping, which is also illegal in the US.

    Dumping is when you enter a market and start selling something expensive for less than the cost of the raw materials to make, purposely losing money on each sale. Why do this? So that no one will buy from your competitors, to drive them out of business in a few months. Then to make up for all of your losses you jack up the prices a whole lot once you have no competitors, to double or triple what your competitors were charging before.

     

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      Anonymous Cowherd, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:52am

      Re:

      An ebook does not require any raw materials, it costs nothing to copy. You can't lose money on a sale unless you're paying people to take it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re:

        Presumably companies are allocating a portion of the cost of the rights to each copy sold so it's not like it's free

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Presumably companies are allocating a portion of the cost of the rights to each copy sold so it's not like it's free


          No those unlimited volume print rights are not entirely free. I can't find those numbers though..... I'll go ask one of the authors working my IHOP and we can factor that in.

           

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      Eponymous Coward (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:53am

      Re:

      The terminology needs to be updated for the world of digital goods.

      Dumping implies that there's actually a physical stock that will be depleted or need to be replenished over time. Being pedantic here, but is it possible to 'dump' an infinite good?

      Grocery store analogies, or any analogy that ties this market to a world of physical, finite goods, are useless. These products don't physically exist, they are a quantity of magnetic states on a storage medium.

      Supply and demand doesn't apply either, because there is either zero, roughly, in terms of inventory cost, or infinite supply. The only factor that remains is demand.

      Digital goods are a bag of plenty, there's no bottom, period. Trying to apply classical economic terms and theory to this market is useless, and the disconnect that exists between the old guard and the present day ensures that no one's ever going to agree on the solution because they aren't even trying to play on the same field.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:54am

    derp

    this same old story. Retailers will ALWAYS charge, as much as they can. The same thing happened with CD's, when manufacturing costs went down dramatically, retail prices remained the same. If you are expecting a "fair" price, you are living in a dream world.

     

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:17am

      Re: derp

      This story is about a retailer who wanted to charge less than other people think they should be allowed to.

      So, maybe not the same old story?

       

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    jjmsan (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Nice if B&N would compete

    I bought the first book(hard copy) of a series for my grandaughter. She loved it. I tried to buy the second book from B&N. It was out of stock, but they would order it. I could have it in 3 weeks. Amazon could get it to me in 3 to 5 days and it was cheaper. Where would you have purchased it?

     

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    preciousillusion (profile), Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:50am

    Barns & NoSell

    Cause of bankrupcy:
    Pure, uncut stupidity.

     

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    Amit, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 9:57am

    tldr: Our business model isn't viable, so we are fixing prices. Please don't take my job.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 11th, 2012 @ 7:38pm

    I love how an article from 2009 was brought into this debate, and it really has nothing to do with the article. Also, yes there's a way to turn off the 3G. It's an option in the menu called, oddly enough, "Turn Wireless Off" although I do admit I can see how some of the posters here could miss something like that. The TL;DR of B&N's argument? Easy, "Amazon is charging less, and we don't want to lower our prices. Someone stop them"

     

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    Kayla S, Jun 24th, 2012 @ 10:28pm

    The Anti-Amazon Mindset

    Walmart hates Amazon as well as B&N. Both want the government to step in and impose unconstitutional things like sales taxes even though the Supreme Court laid down the law on the issue by stating you had to have a physical presence.

    They want these unjustifiable costs put onto Amazon because they are afraid to go out of business. What they don't realize is that they are losing business because they are bad companies. Its no different than how being burned by Blockbuster drove people to Netflix.

    Getting the government involved to save a faulty business model is too much big government. Capitalism calls for letting the strong survive and the weak to die off. People say that Amazon will create a monopoly, but that isn't true. If Amazon turned on its customers later down the line, a new company will come along and persuade them to buy from them and Amazon will just die off like Borders.

    That is how the cycle works. We cannot destroy businesses through government intervention just to save businesses that have long since alienated their customer base and stopped being innovative once they rested on their laurels.

    If Amazon can provide a product to me at a better price, I'll buy from them. Trying to make it more expensive is merely trying to destroy a company that found success when other companies didn't want to try til it was too late and the competition took off.

     

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    Elizabeth Lang, Jul 27th, 2012 @ 11:58pm

    Of course it makes sense if you think about

    I really don't get why people don't understand this. It just takes a little thought.

    The difficulty has always been Amazon trying to control pricing of all books by artificially forcing them lower. The problem is that Amazon couldn't care less what the overhead cost of books are to the people who publish them. Why should they? They don't have to invest any money in books like the publishers do. They don't pay advances, they don't need to keep a staff of editors, proofreaders, sales and marketing people, etc. They don't have to eat the cost of physically printing a book and keeping an inventory, especially if the author doesn't sell.

    All Amazon cares about is making money without having any overhead like everyone else. So what if they price books at below cost in order to use it as a loss-leader to drive people to their site and bring business to other products that are not books. As long as they get a benefit from it, they'll price it any way they want, without any consideration to the people whose sole livelihood is from books.

    So Amazon prices books so low that they severely cut the margins of the publishers and force them out of business, which is what Amazon is trying to do.

    Then when they have a virtual monopoly in the publishing industry, because they've force everyone else out by driving the price of books so low that they can no longer sustain their businesses, then they can price it as high as they want, because then the readers have no other choice. And you can bet that is exactly what they will do because that has been the track record of Amazon for many years, once they have people in their power.

    "Walmart hates Amazon as well as B&N. Both want the government to step in and impose unconstitutional things like sales taxes even though the Supreme Court laid down the law on the issue by stating you had to have a physical presence.

    They want these unjustifiable costs put onto Amazon because they are afraid to go out of business. What they don't realize is that they are losing business because they are bad companies. Its no different than how being burned by Blockbuster drove people to Netflix."

    Excuse me? Sales taxes are unconstitutional? Uh...not paying sales taxes to the government is unconstitutional.

    And where did you read that about the Supreme Court laying down the law about having a physical presence?

    The law that Amazon is using shamefully in order to avoid paying sales taxes was meant to protect online SMALL BUSINESSES, not multi-billion dollar companies like Amazon.

    Everyone else in the industry and online businesses charges sales taxes. Amazon is the only one that doesn't. Why should Amazon be given such a huge advantage? They are a MULTI-BILLION dollar company.

    The States are all trying to close that loop hole which was never meant to protect large companies that already make far too much money. What Amazon is doing may not be illegal but it is unethical.

    Just imagine. More and more people buy from Amazon and no longer pay sales taxes on the items they buy. That means that money is no longer available to pay for public road repair, ambulance services, schools, etc.

    They are stealing money from you and you don't think that's a problem?

     

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      NB, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 1:20pm

      Re: Of course it makes sense if you think about

      Forgot to point out - what Amazon WAS doing was in fact illegal. It violated tax law, but they came to a settlement with the various state bringing the suit. However, if they had not had a presence in my state, it would have been neither illegal nor unethical for them not to charge my state's residences sales tax.

      Now some states are trying to get more sales taxes by claiming that if a company selling services over the internet has any affiliates in their state then they are owed sales taxes as well. No ruling on that one yet, as far as I know.

       

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    NB, Aug 6th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

    You pay sales tax to Amazon if Amazon has a physical presence in your state - a store or a distribution warehouse, for example. This is the same for all internet companies (or is supposed to be). This is the reason that I can buy from huge companies that have all their stores/warehouses elsewhere in the country and pay no sales tax, yet if I buy from a mom-and-pop based in my state, I do pay sales tax. I pay sales tax if I buy from someone on Etsy who is based in my state. I do not pay sales tax buying from Overstock.com because they have no presence in my state.

    The reason why Amazon has been getting into trouble lately is they were trying to argue that having a warehouse in a state wasn't enough of a physical presence. They were shot down on that one, and now residents of states that never had to pay sales tax when buying from Amazon now must. In addition, Amazon has made deals with at least one state to bring more jobs to that state in lieu of paying all the back-taxes plus penalty fees that Amazon owed them.

     

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    femegem, Oct 5th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Barnes & Noble is now double charging for e-books!

    DO NOT PURCHASE E-BOOKS FROM BARNES & NOBLE!!!!

    They are now double charging the customer for e-books and calling it a pre-authoriztions fee!! They deduct out of your bank account twice!!!

    I currently have my bank watching them closely to see how much further they will take this illegal transaction and I will then file suit!!!!!!

     

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    millgate (profile), Oct 11th, 2012 @ 11:23am

    Low priced tablet and ebooks in AMAZON et al

    I confess that I have not read every comment written here on this topic, and apologise if this is repetition ...

    I have not seen any comments about tablet manufacturers on this topic - except about Apple; and I admit to not liking the company. That's been my view since they invented and marketed the Mac.

    Apple are greedy, nasty, dishonest, tax avoiding and child worker employers ... need I say more

    In my view there is ample evidence that Amazon, Google and others are beginning to 'cozy-up' with a number of Tablet manufacturers.

    This will lead to the inevitable ...

    The Internet marketers will make massive deals with the Tablet makers - and FREE Tablets will become the 'norm'.

    Self evidently this trend is well on it's way.

    Clearly Apple can see this coming; why have they changed their marketing position by announcing a 'mini iPad' in such a raw, panicky, move ?

    Personally, I'm waiting for my emails from Amazon, Google, Barnes & Noble etc. (as a paid up member ...) inviting me to choose what colour I would like the FREE tablet they are about to 'offer' me.

    I'll choose a tablet from each of them and give them to my grand-children !

    My only hope is that they offer the 'POCKETABLE', '6 inch diagonal, variety/genre' of tablet which are CURRENTLY being announced at the rough rate of 6 per/day in China.

    I just love POCKETABLE 6 inch tablets .....

     

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    trish, Nov 26th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    the cost of e books

    I dont know anything about the previous comments about Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I just know its a rip off.

    Crime Fiction ebooks £9.99 etc , it is cheaper to buy the books from the shops or from amazon, love the new Nook with its glowlight but cant afford to read any of the books.

    and amazon kindle books have samples for every book, not just a few

     

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    identicon
    trish, Nov 26th, 2012 @ 9:42am

    the cost of e books

    I dont know anything about the previous comments about Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I just know its a rip off.

    Crime Fiction ebooks £9.99 etc , it is cheaper to buy the books from the shops or from amazon, love the new Nook with its glowlight but cant afford to read any of the books.

    and amazon kindle books have samples for every book, not just a few

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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