What Am I Missing Here?

I recently read an article relating to book publishing which stated that for the first time, Amazon Kindle eBook sales surpassed the sales of Amazon printed books.  In essence, readers are now buying more ebooks from Amazon than all hardcovers and paperbacks combined.  And since Amazon is by far the largest book seller in the world, this is a significant statistic. To me it marks an inflection point in publishing that I knew was bound to happen, I just didn’t know when.  But the future is definitely NOW.

But here’s what bugs me!  In many cases, eBooks are priced by the publishers at nearly the same cost as hardback books, and in some cases even more.

One of my favorite authors is Wilbur Smith, who writes historical dynasty adventure novels based on characters throughout the history of Southern Africa.  He really brings Africa and its struggles to life.  Anyway, after a quick troll through Amazon, here is what I discovered about pricing:

Help me understand the logic here? Other than greed, of course.  With eBooks, there are zero distribution costs, zero shipping costs, zero inventory costs, zero warehousing, no costs for prominent shelf space, zero costs for paper and printing.  I could go on but you get the picture.  We are talking about electronic bytes here, whose costs to deliver is minimal.  And it’s not Amazon setting the pricing in most cases, it’s the publishers.

In another very recent article, a court has orders several large publishing houses to reimburse Amazon customers who bought “overpriced” eBooks.  I guess someone is beginning to complain and force the issue of this greedy practice.

Here is a case of greed and protectionism overriding good business practices.  A tireless critic of traditional publishing and a visionary about the digital revolution is Seth Godin and if you want to learn more about the tidal wave of changes impacting the traditional publishing industry and their poorly advised protectionist responses, read a few of his blogs.

One thing is for certain, the power of people voting with their feet, and dollars, has the power to change those who resist change.

Tight Lines . . .

John R Childress


About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at john@johnrchildress.com or john.childress@theprincipiagroup.com
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3 Responses to What Am I Missing Here?

  1. Raunak says:

    these figures do come as a surprise to me. I just think they should make all e-books $0.99…I wouldn’t mind if they slip in a few ads here in there in the book.


  2. Raunak says:

    there’s a colon missing in the URL link to “article”…clicking takes it to an unidentified page. is it just me or you get it too?


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