Macmillan and Amazon: Not friends

I'm sure this has already reached your ears, reader types, but in case not, Amazon gave Macmillan the proverbial Facebook unfriend (defriend?), delisting all Macmillan titles from the bookseller's site. Galleycat has a great round-up of events and coverage, and John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, issued a response, which outlines the proposed system that Amazon rejected:
Under the agency model, we will sell the digital editions of our books to consumers through our retailers. Our retailers will act as our agents and will take a 30% commission (the standard split today for many digital media businesses). The price will be set for each book individually....Our disagreement is not about short term profitability but rather about the long-term viability and stability of the digital book market.
So, interesting so far. Then Amazon released a statement, that says:
We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books.
For a little perspective on Amazon's stance, Amazon UK delisted Hachette in May of 2008 during a fight over discounting, and it doesn't appear that things were settled until June of 2009, if Bookseller's dates are accurate (props if anyone can tell me if that's right). In the Hachette situation, while titles were not removed from Amazon whole hog, the option to "buy now" by clicking one button was gone, and instead of buying from Hachette the consumer had to go through through a third party seller. So, while there is a precedent for delisting publishers for extended periods of time, I'm going to have to assume that Amazon's need to capitulate so quickly is at least in part because, as Sargent says, "The agency model would allow Amazon to make more money selling our books, not less."

I'm not a sales type (although a little birdie has told me that a sales type will be discussing this topic today), so I can only make guesses and assumptions, but I would assume that Amazon a) doesn't want e-book prices dictated by publishers (dur) and is taking an aggressive stand on it now, and b) will fold for money after taking what Cory Doctorow is calling a farcical stance on consumer rights.

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