47 Replies Latest reply on Nov 13, 2014 12:04 PM by keriflur
      • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
        flyingtoastr

        I'm sure an article extolling the virtues of Amazon just happened to show up in a paper owned by the sociopath in charge of Amazon completely by chance.

        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
          kamas716

          You know, I'm thinking that if the publishers are so concerned about eBooks with respect to Amazon, they could just stop selling through Amazon. Amazon uses a proprietary format. Unless the Kindle user also has an app that allows them to read epub they won't be reading anything new that Amazon doesn't already own. Sure, the publishers will take a hit for awhile, but eventually readers who want the book in electronic format are gonna either be buying an epub from someone else (and possibly reformatting it) or buying a DTB. Unfortunately, I don't think the publishers will each come up with the same response and hold fast without publicly cheering each other on, which could possibly be seen as collusion.

          • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
            MacMcK1957

            No, you can't boycott the 800-pound gorilla.  Amazon is, and will remain, the primary sales channel for e-books.  If Kindlers can't get the books they want, they'll find other authors from other publishers.  My wife is one of them.  She won't get a new device, and she won't go to the trouble of buying elsewhere and converting formats.  Very few will.

              • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                keriflur

                Sure, some of them (a surprising number IMO) don't care what they read and will just pick from whatever Amazon has to offer. But if the Big 5 pull their books, and kindle owners can't get their Lee Child/Dan Brown/GRRM/whoever, Amazon IS going to have crowd control issues, from both angry masses and the flow to the exits.

                 

                Bottom line: most folks care who and what they read.

                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                  bobstro

                  So don't sell to Kindlers. The problem is that Amazon is putting out the more compelling products right now. Maybe publishers and everybody that isn't Amazon should focus on that problem.

                   

                  Apple didn't move from near-obscurity to market domination by making sure they could sell to the majority of the market, they offered something better. They innovated. Apple dominated in the smartphone space. Now there's competition and, arguably, equal if not superior devices and services. Nobody "stopped" Apple, and they didn't kowtow to Applers to do it. There are devices out there as good as, if not better than, the iPhone and iTab.

                   

                  Compete by offering something better first. (And "better" is subjective.) I'm hardly a fan of Amazon, but a lot of this anti-Amazon yammering is asking for legal remedies rather than offering consumers anything better. Yes, Amazon sucks. No, it's unlikely anybody's going to step in and stop them. So now what? This has been going on long enough that someone should be coming up with ideas instead of insisting that "we" (consumers, government and everybody else) somehow "stop" Amazon.

                   

                  Is the Kindle really the penultimate device? The best device possible to serve the needs of readers?

                   

                  Sure, Mac's wife isn't changing soon. Why should she? There's nothing better being offered. That's the problem, not the fact that she finds Amazon easiest.

                   

                  [Edit] I just read and agree with Keri's post. Yes, a lot of people, or at least people that spend a lot on books, care deeply about what and who's works they read. That is the strength of all-that-is-not-Amazon. So do something with it.

                    • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                      keriflur

                      If someone doesn't care who or what they read, do you really think they care about device quality and features? I'm going with no, they don't.

                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                          bobstro

                          I agree, Keri. So perhaps it's time to just accept that those will be lost sales. Again, Apple didn't move to dominance by worrying about what the lowest-tier shoppers wanted in a music player or a phone or a tablet. They recognized who their demographic was and went about catering to their needs. Maybe the authors and publishers affected should realize that readers who don't care aren't who they should care about?

                           

                          I suspect there are more bodies in Walmart stores than Apple stores. Apple is doing just fine ignoring that fact.

                           

                          Kobo's demonstrated that people are willing to pay more for a quality reading device. Amazon seems to be following their lead for a change.

                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                          DeanGibson

                          Bob George wrote:

                           

                          ... Apple dominated in the smartphone space. ...

                           

                          By lying, and getting huge masses to believe them.

                           

                          When I iPhone first came out, there was an effusive article in the Seattle Times about how original the iPhone was.  I sent an eMail to the article's author about how everything that he extolled about the iPhone, I had been able to do on my Windows Mobile phone for the past year.  Surprisingly, he published my response.

                           

                          It didn't do any good.  Apple owners know that Al Gore invented the Internet, Steve Jobs invented the computer, and that "the iPad can do that" (a quote from my sister) in response to any tablet capability.

                           

                          I see that Apple brought out NFC purchases after my phone had it.  Unfortunately, the NFC purchase app on my Android phone was named "ISIS" (seriously).

                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                              keriflur

                              Dean Gibson wrote:

                              I see that Apple brought out NFC purchases after my phone had it.  Unfortunately, the NFC purchase app on my Android phone was named "ISIS" (seriously).

                              You don't use Google Wallet? I've heard good things about it.

                               

                              I used to hate Apple because of all the "we invented it" crap. If they were telling the truth, they'd have said, "We stole it from the real innovators and spent a lot of money on marketing to make it look like we invented it." But those days are over, they're in the pack now, fighting with Samsung and getting duped on battery life by Motorola. IMO this is a good thing - competition leads to innovation. Apple Pay, IMO, is the outcome of that - it's more secure than any other form of phone-based NFC payment. That will push the whole market forward, and we will all see the gains of that.

                                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                  DeanGibson

                                  keriflur wrote:

                                   

                                  Dean Gibson wrote:

                                  I see that Apple brought out NFC purchases after my phone had it.  Unfortunately, the NFC purchase app on my Android phone was named "ISIS" (seriously).

                                  You don't use Google Wallet? I've heard good things about it.

                                   

                                  ...

                                   

                                  ISIS (now called "SoftCard") is distinct from Google Wallet.  I'd like the bugs to be ironed out of the whole NFC process, before I jump into that security morass.  Like the day after the iPhone w/ NFC was announced, Bank of America apologized for double-charging some iPhone NFC purchases.

                                  • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                    bobstro

                                    keriflur wrote:

                                    [...] Apple Pay, IMO, is the outcome of that - it's more secure than any other form of phone-based NFC payment. That will push the whole market forward, and we will all see the gains of that.

                                    Am I mistaken, or isn't NFC payment old hat in many parts of the world? Apple may be making a big splash here in the USA, but folks up in Montreal seem to be tapping their phones away on parking meters out of ingrained habit. I felt positively quaint digging for change. (Finally, a chance to dump some US coins into Canadian meters!)

                                     

                                    ApplePay offers some improvements, but it might be a bit early to declare it the end-all solution to security issues.

                                      • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                        keriflur

                                        Bob George wrote:

                                         

                                        keriflur wrote:

                                        [...] Apple Pay, IMO, is the outcome of that - it's more secure than any other form of phone-based NFC payment. That will push the whole market forward, and we will all see the gains of that.

                                        Am I mistaken, or isn't NFC payment old hat in many parts of the world? Apple may be making a big splash here in the USA, but folks up in Montreal seem to be tapping their phones away on parking meters out of ingrained habit. I felt positively quaint digging for change. (Finally, a chance to dump some US coins into Canadian meters!)

                                        Yep, NFC is old hat. We are WAY behind. We're still trying to convert to chip and pin, which has been in use in the rest of the world for a decade. It's gotten to the point that it's problematic for international travel.

                                         

                                        BUT, that does not mean that the NFC that the rest of the world is using is as secure as Apple Pay. All NFC is is a way to transmit data. Apple Pay is doing it in a way where none of your sensitive data is transmitted to or through the vendor. That's a big deal, especially here in the US where many major vendors, including B&N (have to loop them in here somewhere), have had major data breeches. And you "sign" for your payment with either your fingerprint (on the iphone) or your biometric data (on the forthcoming Apple Watch), reducing the chance of fraud down even further.

                                         

                                        Frankly, I don't care if NFC is the tech they're using or not, I like the idea of a simple, fraud-free payment option. However that happens, whichever vendor it is, I want it. I want not to have Citi calling, texting, and emailing me every couple of months to verify transactions. I want not to have to replace my card every couple of years because someone is using my number in Spain and Germany concurrently while I'm here in the US, or someone has bought $400 of merchandise at a gas station and ordered $2000 in bouquets from 1-800-FLOWERS. So, yay for Apple Pay. I hope the tech spreads and everyone uses it.

                                          • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                            bobstro

                                            keriflur wrote:

                                            [...] Frankly, I don't care if NFC is the tech they're using or not, I like the idea of a simple, fraud-free payment option.

                                            Wups, we crossed edits again: ApplePay offers some improvements, but it might be a bit early to declare it the end-all solution to security issues.

                                             

                                            Now who's the fanboy/girl?

                                              • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                keriflur

                                                Bob George wrote:

                                                 

                                                keriflur wrote:

                                                [...] Frankly, I don't care if NFC is the tech they're using or not, I like the idea of a simple, fraud-free payment option.

                                                Wups, we crossed edits again: ApplePay offers some improvements, but it might be a bit early to declare it the end-all solution to security issues.

                                                 

                                                Now who's the fanboy/girl?

                                                I don't think it's the end-all solution at all. Re-read my original response to Dean. I think it's a step in the right direction. Right now they are the security leader. Hopefully their process will spread and the market will become more secure overall. Then someone (maybe Apple, maybe someone else) will come up with something to make it more secure. That's why competition is good. It's good that Apple is in the pack, that Samsung is in the pack, that Motorola and Microsoft and Google and all the others are fighting for dominance - it leads to innovation, and when it comes to payment security, we NEED innovation.

                                                 

                                                And as I said, I don't care who came up with the tech. So unless you're calling me a fangirl of fraud-protection, you've missed the mark.

                                                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                  keriflur

                                                  Bob George wrote:

                                                  Wups, we crossed edits again: ApplePay offers some improvements, but it might be a bit early to declare it the end-all solution to security issues.

                                                   

                                                  So I read through that article, and it seems to have some basic and easily refuted claims:

                                                   

                                                  1. The devices are more desirable to steal - this is irrelevant to the security, because unless you have the passcode/fingerprint/biometric signature of the person who owns the phone/watch, you cannot use Apple Pay.

                                                  2. You have to trust the app-makers who are integrating it - No, you don't, because they cannot access your actual card information. All they get is the token.

                                                  3. You can use fake fingerprints to get into an iDevice - well, yeah, duh, of course you can, if you locate a good print and make a model of it. Let's pretend that this is something everyone knows how to do. It still takes hours to do, and in that time, odds are the owner noticed that their phone was missing and has disabled the feature. But then let's pretend the thief swiped it from a drunk in a bar and they've got lots of time because the guy's too gone to notice. He's still going to notice the next morning, the purchases are still credit card protected, and the thief can't even get the card number off the phone, because all that's there are tokens.

                                                  3a. If the phone is off-network, you can't disable Apple Pay - but you CAN call your bank and put a hold on your card. This is another "duh" moment. You don't even need to cancel the card number, because the number isn't compromised, just the device.

                                                  4. To get a card on there, you send a picture of it to Apple - um, no, not how it works at all.

                                                   

                                                  This article was written just after the announcement and before the service went into effect. I'm sure there are actual ways to get around the security, but these aren't those ways.

                                                    • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                      bobstro

                                                      Just one of many links that popped up cautioning against buying in the what the Apple hypesters are peddling. Anyone truly interested can do the google search. There's an interesting comment at about 3:35 of this podcast indicating that the Europeans are ahead on this... but kinda hard to quote that.

                                                      keriflur wrote: [...] Frankly, I don't care if NFC is the tech they're using or not, I like the idea of a simple, fraud-free payment option.

                                                      Ah, the joys of English. I read "they" as Apple. I think now you meant "anybody".

                                                       

                                                      Does suck being accused of fanboy/girl-dom though, doesn't it?

                                                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                          keriflur

                                                          Nope. I absolutely am a fangirl of fraud-protection. I happily admit it. I'm also a fangirl of good books, democracy, apple pie, Taylor Swift, and chocolate chip cookies (but only if I make them myself).

                                                           

                                                          Come on, Bob, get on the fan-wagon!

                                                           

                                                          As for the cautionary links - of course there are naysayers, and they're probably all as educated about both security and Apple Pay as the guy that wrote the one you linked. It doesn't mean anything. Even the naysayers have to admit this is the currently the most secure solution available. And of course there's the guarantee that eventually there will be a way to crack it, and there will be a more secure option down the line.

                                                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                              bobstro

                                                              The guy interviewed in the ThreatPost podcast has good credentials.

                                                               

                                                              You did say frog protection, didn't you?

                                                                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                  keriflur

                                                                  I can't watch podcasts while at work - does he say anything the other guy didn't say?

                                                                    • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                      bobstro

                                                                      He's just very cautious to emphasize that Apple Pay is the best in the US. At that mark he comments that the Europeans are further ahead, largely due to differences in liability for credit car fraud. He's clarifies more at about 11:40. He's complimentary to Apple overall. I found that comment interesting, as well as fitting into the Apple (re) inventing theme.

                                                                       

                                                                      I need to re-listen  myself, as I was working at the time myself. Payment's not an area I am focused on. I'm looking for more detail of how it's done elsewhere.

                                                                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                          keriflur

                                                                          Bob George wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                          He's just very cautious to emphasize that Apple Pay is the best in the US. At that mark he comments that the Europeans are further ahead, largely due to differences in liability. He's complimentary to Apple overall. I found that comment interesting, as well as fitting into the Apple (re) inventing theme.

                                                                           

                                                                          I need to re-listen  myself, as I was working at the time myself.

                                                                          I suspect that, for transmission and in-hand security, Apple Pay is equal to or better than what's going on in Europe. It's a huge jump for us in the US, given that we're mostly on swipe-and-sign, so it makes sense for people to be suspicious. In Europe, they're entirely NFC and chip-and-pin, and yeah, the liability is different.

                                                                           

                                                                          When I was traveling around last year I had trouble a few times paying for things - they don't always have something for you to sign. And I have a chip card (Citibank is chip-and-pin internationally, but Americans are still stuck on signature, even with chip cards). I can't even imagine the hassle if I had a swipe-only card. I probably would have had to pay for everything in cash.

                                                      • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                        bobstro

                                                        Dean Gibson wrote:

                                                        [...] Apple owners know that Al Gore invented the Internet

                                                        Poor ol' Al. He didn't exactly say that. He was heavily involved in the "Information Super Highway" effort that was a big deal in the 1990s. I can still remember all the pictures of the glowing fiber mesh in the sky over the map of the US.

                                                         

                                                        [...] Unfortunately, the NFC purchase app on my Android phone was named "ISIS" (seriously).

                                                        That, at least, is only awkward. The Institute for Science and International Security must be really bummed.

                                                      • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                        captainnook

                                                        Bob George wrote:

                                                         

                                                        So don't sell to Kindlers. The problem is that Amazon is putting out the more compelling products right now. Maybe publishers and everybody that isn't Amazon should focus on that problem.

                                                         

                                                        Apple didn't move from near-obscurity to market domination by making sure they could sell to the majority of the market, they offered something better. They innovated. Apple dominated in the smartphone space. Now there's competition and, arguably, equal if not superior devices and services. Nobody "stopped" Apple, and they didn't kowtow to Applers to do it. There are devices out there as good as, if not better than, the iPhone and iTab.

                                                         

                                                        Compete by offering something better first. (And "better" is subjective.) I'm hardly a fan of Amazon, but a lot of this anti-Amazon yammering is asking for legal remedies rather than offering consumers anything better. Yes, Amazon sucks. No, it's unlikely anybody's going to step in and stop them. So now what? This has been going on long enough that someone should be coming up with ideas instead of insisting that "we" (consumers, government and everybody else) somehow "stop" Amazon.

                                                         

                                                        Is the Kindle really the penultimate device? The best device possible to serve the needs of readers?

                                                         

                                                        Sure, Mac's wife isn't changing soon. Why should she? There's nothing better being offered. That's the problem, not the fact that she finds Amazon easiest.

                                                         

                                                        [Edit] I just read and agree with Keri's post. Yes, a lot of people, or at least people that spend a lot on books, care deeply about what and who's works they read. That is the strength of all-that-is-not-Amazon. So do something with it.

                                                         

                                                        If, let's say, Blackberry, decided to answer the upstart Apple by selling all of their phones at a loss and somehow found a way to negotiate deals with all the cell service providers at a substantial discount to everyone else by convincing them that Blackberry would dominate and own the market, I don't think Apple would have done as well as it did.

                                                         

                                                        Granted, not a perfect analogy, but the point is, what innovative company would want to enter a market with a dominant player willing to defend their marketshare at the cost of earnings and shareholder value? The reason no one tries to compete by offering better products is because the game is rigged to begin with.

                                                          • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                            keriflur

                                                            captainnook wrote:

                                                            Granted, not a perfect analogy, but the point is, what innovative company would want to enter a market with a dominant player willing to defend their marketshare at the cost of earnings and shareholder value? The reason no one tries to compete by offering better products is because the game is rigged to begin with.

                                                            The shareholders are getting a bit tired of this, and have been pushing Amazon to bring in some solid earnings. I wonder how long Amazon will be able to go on like this, as it's not sustainable and eventually the analysts are going to wise up and list the company as a SELL.

                                                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                              bobstro

                                                              captainnook wrote:

                                                              [...] If, let's say, Blackberry, decided to answer the upstart Apple by selling all of their phones at a loss and somehow found a way to negotiate deals with all the cell service providers at a substantial discount to everyone else by convincing them that Blackberry would dominate and own the market, I don't think Apple would have done as well as it did.

                                                              And yet, Kobo is trying and finding some success. A lot of the other players in the "Stop Amazon" kerfuffle seem to be conceding the fight, and instead looking for legal or consumer boycott remedies.

                                                                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                  keriflur

                                                                  Bob George wrote:

                                                                   

                                                                  captainnook wrote:

                                                                  [...] If, let's say, Blackberry, decided to answer the upstart Apple by selling all of their phones at a loss and somehow found a way to negotiate deals with all the cell service providers at a substantial discount to everyone else by convincing them that Blackberry would dominate and own the market, I don't think Apple would have done as well as it did.

                                                                  And yet, Kobo is trying and finding some success. A lot of the other players in the "Stop Amazon" kerfuffle seem to be conceding the fight, and instead looking for legal or consumer boycott remedies.

                                                                  You're forgetting that Kobo has all but pulled out of the US market, and stated to Canadian authorities that they can't compete here because Amazon owns the market.

                                                                    • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                      bobstro

                                                                      keriflur wrote:

                                                                      [...] You're forgetting that Kobo has all but pulled out of the US market, and stated to Canadian authorities that they can't compete here because Amazon owns the market.

                                                                      What am I forgetting? Kobo is putting out competitive devices in a market in which Amazon has a dominant position, are they not? I can understand the complaints. I just don't see why so little else besides complaining is being done.

                                                                       

                                                                      Please remember in the NFC discussion, I was only commenting that NFC payment was nothing new and that secure systems exist. I'm not arguing Apple's isn't a great improvement for US consumers.

                                                                       

                                                                      The podcast really hammers home the importance of sticking to what you do best using Apple as an example, which circles back to the original topic.

                                                                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                          keriflur

                                                                          http://dearauthor.com/ebooks/has-everyone-conceded-the-us-ebook-market-to-amazon/

                                                                           

                                                                          From the article (the quote in the middle comes from an article from Canadian magazine Quill and Quire. The article is no longer available online):

                                                                          Kobo, which is supposed to take over all the US Sony accounts has announced it is withdrawing funding for promotion within the US.

                                                                          Kobo has since stopped investing in marketing in the US, closed its office in Chicago and is focusing on other markets. Its market share and revenues are now negligible there.

                                                                          For Sony and Kobo (owned by rival Japanese companies), the market share they are looking to conquer is international.

                                                                          Kobo is putting out devices to compete in the international market. We are reaping the benefit because they are still making those devices available to Americans. but they are not trying to beat Amazon here in the US.

                                                                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                              bobstro

                                                                              keriflur wrote:

                                                                              [...] Kobo is putting out devices to compete in the international market. We are reaping the benefit because they are still making those devices available to Americans. but they are not trying to beat Amazon here in the US.

                                                                              And of course you understand that I never said Kobo are trying to beat Amazon in the US, right? Nor does an effective strategy mean that they have to... although I'm sure they're hoping to make a re-entry at some point. What I did state is that somebody besides Amazon is putting out innovative devices (or rather, CONTRACTING them) in markets where Amazon does have a significant presence (e.g. Canada). Read that as "... fighting Amazon's attempts to take over the rest of the world" if it's clearer. Which might be a more effective strategy that the continual chants of "stop Amazon" that we're getting here in the US. Amazon has done nothing illegal. While certainly reprehensible, their business practices, and indeed those of many darlings of the stock market, are not illegal. So there is no "stopping" Amazon other than beating Amazon, or at least keeping share, no matter how much lower than Amazon's. Apple didn't have a commanding share for decades (or close enough). That doesn't mean, as Keri has pointed out regarding Apple's (incremental) improvements in the mobile payment space, that there's nothing to be done, nor that there's no hope of somebody out-innovating Amazon at some point.

                                                                               

                                                                              Unfortunately, B&N's interests as of late seem to be focused on restricting what their customers can do. Still.

                                                                               

                                                                              The publishers insist Amazon is terrible, yet insist on doing business with them. Still.

                                                                               

                                                                              How has those strategies fared in recent years? What exactly are they expecting to change? A legal challenge is unlikely. A consumer revolt because, you know, books are really special, is equally unlikely. So now... what?

                                                                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                          flyingtoastr

                                                                          bobstro wrote:

                                                                           

                                                                          captainnook wrote:

                                                                          [...] If, let's say, Blackberry, decided to answer the upstart Apple by selling all of their phones at a loss and somehow found a way to negotiate deals with all the cell service providers at a substantial discount to everyone else by convincing them that Blackberry would dominate and own the market, I don't think Apple would have done as well as it did.

                                                                          And yet, Kobo is trying and finding some success. A lot of the other players in the "Stop Amazon" kerfuffle seem to be conceding the fight, and instead looking for legal or consumer boycott remedies.

                                                                          According to Rakuten's most recent financial disclosures, Kobo still has yet to turn a profit since they bought the company.

                                                                           

                                                                          Do not confuse "still exists" with "success".

                                                                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                              bobstro

                                                                              A damn sight better than doing nothing. Or saying with a straight face that Amazon needs to be constrained or boycotted. (Particularly considering recent history in this industry!)  Don't confuse not winning with rolling over. Or antagonizing your customers.

                                                                               

                                                                              Whether it takes the world by storm or not, Kobo went out and found a manufacturer that they worked with to put out a product a lot of readers want. In roughly the same time period, B&N's worked with a leading manufacturer to put out a product loaded with artificially stunted B&N software (the NGTS 7), chose an utterly underwhelming device from that same manufacturer for their large format tablet (the NGTS 10) and made an unannounced change to the ability of customers to download their purchased content. Which is the strategy more likely to attract or retain customers?

                                                                               

                                                                              I have lost sympathy with the "Stop Amazon" crowd. I don't see anything they're offering in the way of something better for the consumer. My biggest gripe with Amazon is how they treat their own workers. The rest is just competition and market forces at work. Adapt or die. Yeah, it sucks.

                                                                                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                  keriflur

                                                                                  So I looked back over the thread, and not one person has suggested anything other than market forces and company decisions. No one here is suggesting government action against them in any way.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  IMO "Adapt or Die" is crap. It implies that companies have no say in the future of their industry, when in fact they do. A company choosing not to do business with another company that's trying to screw them doesn't make the first company a dinosaur, it makes them smart. Any decision that leads to company success, whether that's "adapting" to the current market, resisting a perceived fad, or choosing another direction altogether, is a smart decision for the company. We talked earlier about Apple - Apple could have "adapted" to a market where everything was PC. They could have become a PC maker. But they didn't. They took the hard road and did just fine.

                                                                                    • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                      bobstro

                                                                                      keriflur wrote:

                                                                                      So I looked back over the thread, and not one person has suggested anything other than market forces and company decisions. No one here is suggesting government action against them in any way.

                                                                                      Yes. This is a discussion about the articles GB posted links to, and articles linked to those,. I'd be quoting anybody writing here otherwise. Whilst reading many of the related threads online, you don't have to go far to find cries of monopoly being tossed about in the whatevers-o-sphere these days. [Edit: The New Republic article under discussion in the WP and NYT articles gb18 posted to being but one example. I'm agreeing with parts of the WP and NYT articles under discussion in this thread.]

                                                                                      IMO "Adapt or Die" is crap. It implies that companies have no say in the future of their industry, when in fact they do. A company choosing not to do business with another company that's trying to screw them doesn't make the first company a dinosaur, it makes them smart.

                                                                                      Erm... yes, exactly. I think. What you are describing is what I consider adaptation. Why continue to do business with Amazon when doing business with Amazon is against your best interests? I don't agree with the sentiment (out there, not necessarily here) that seems to read that publishers have no choice. The NYT has a lot of good points. Not to say that going without Amazon wouldn't be very, very difficult, but certainly possible. That's what I meant by "adapt or die". If sticking with Amazon is ultimately lethal, and a hypothetical publisher doesn't do anything else, surely they'll die. Aren't we saying the same thing (at least in this case)?

                                                                                      Any decision that leads to company success, whether that's "adapting" to the current market, resisting a perceived fad, or choosing another direction altogether, is a smart decision for the company. We talked earlier about Apple - Apple could have "adapted" to a market where everything was PC. They could have become a PC maker. But they didn't. They took the hard road and did just fine.

                                                                                      Yes, that's my point exactly. (I thought I made that clear in post 6.) Cater to your customer base, not Walmart/Amazon's, or develop the base you want by offering products to draw them. Apple did it with the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and largely by making incremental but smart changes to existing technologies. I believe, Keri, you were suggesting that the publishers' customer base isn't the same as Amazon's, at least in some regards. Those that are picky about who and what they read are more likely to follow the established publishers with known authors. Do I have that right? (And you lost me in post 12.)

                                                                                       

                                                                                      [edit] Perhaps and example that gets away from Apple's baggage is better. GoPro created a niche for cameras. Theirs are not the cheapest, but they targeted a very specific mode of camera usage, and their cameras a nearly synonymous with extreme sport photography. They are not a huge corporate entity. They were not established players. They were significantly outnumbered by a wide variety of established competitors, from point-and-shoot to high-end DSLR. They identified a niche and created products catering to buyers in that niche. They made the jump from film to digital.[/edit]

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Kobo -- and yes, FT, I realize Kobo is hardly Apple -- is at least tinkering in the high-end of eInk pricing with features to match. $100 no longer seems to be the target for eink devices, and as a result, we're starting to see eink readers with more features, not fewer. I don't think it's a coincidence that Amazon suddenly decided a higher-priced device would fly. Why I do believe Amazon invented the concept of buttons on an eink reader... oh wait.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      Man, is it annoying having different editing options depending on where you're reading a post.

                                                                                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                          keriflur

                                                                                          Bob George wrote:

                                                                                          Aren't we saying the same thing (at least in this case)?

                                                                                          Yep, I think we are. Usually when people say "adapt or die" they're saying, "the market has changed and you have to go with the new flow," and in relation to publishing it's usually used to say the publishers are dinosaurs and need to get with the program and sell cheap books, do subscription plans, etc. IMO doing those things is only good if they're actually good for the company.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          I disagree somewhat with catering to a customer base, because customers want some things that are unrealistic to give if you're looking to keep a company profitable, such as free/cheap, high quality everything. This gets into the value of the things being sold - I've got an article that I'll be sharing later today on that. Sometimes you have to make smart business decisions that aren't on the customer wish list.

                                                                                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                              keriflur

                                                                                              And I'm moderated again, again with no links, no mention of competitors or any companies for that matter. *sighs*

                                                                                              • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                                bobstro

                                                                                                keriflur wrote:

                                                                                                Yep, I think we are. Usually when people say "adapt or die" they're saying, "the market has changed and you have to go with the new flow," and in relation to publishing it's usually used to say the publishers are dinosaurs and need to get with the program and sell cheap books, do subscription plans, etc. IMO doing those things is only good if they're actually good for the company.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Ah, OK. I've been reading a lot of evolutionary science and biology non-fic lately, so I meant it more in the "if something's not working, you'd better figure something else out" sense. Not so much "go along with us" as "get out while you can". I hadn't realized the phrase has become associated with specific intent.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I disagree somewhat with catering to a customer base, because customers want some things that are unrealistic to give if you're looking to keep a company profitable, such as free/cheap, high quality everything. This gets into the value of the things being sold - I've got an article that I'll be sharing later today on that. Sometimes you have to make smart business decisions that aren't on the customer wish list.

                                                                                                Catering is probably the wrong word. More like "identifying the customers you want to sell to and focusing on them with laser-like intensity". GoPro is a good example. Apple as well, though they're so big, a lot of other factors get dragged into it. So far as books, rather than worry about capturing every conceivable reader, I think they-that-are-not-Amazon should collectively do everything they can to delight the discerning reader who's not satisfied to just read whatever Amazon decides they should. In some ways, I think continuing to sell through Amazon may be hurting their cause, especially so long as all the games continue. Their stuff is mixed in with all the rest, yet more of a hassle to order. If you want to make a distinction, you have to be distinct.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                This could  lead to another "synergy between B&N and publishers and 3rd party device manufacturer" discussion.

                                                                                                  • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                                    keriflur

                                                                                                    Bob George wrote:

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    So far as books, rather than worry about capturing every conceivable reader, I think they-that-are-not-Amazon should collectively do everything they can to delight the discerning reader who's not satisfied to just read whatever Amazon decides they should. In some ways, I think continuing to sell through Amazon may be hurting their cause, especially so long as all the games continue. Their stuff is mixed in with all the rest, yet more of a hassle to order. If you want to make a distinction, you have to be distinct.

                                                                                                    Totally agree.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    An author I follow or twitter was at YALLFEST last week and had kids coming up to her asking why it was so hard to get her books on Amazon. She had to explain to them what was going on. No author should have to do that. No kid should have to wonder why they have to wait 3 weeks to read their favorite author's book, especially when the reason is that a big company that doesn't care about kids is playing hardball.

                                                                                                     

                                                                                                    I'd love if Hachette pulled out, but with other pubs making new contracts, and with Hachette's position as the smallest of the big 5, I don't think it's financially feasible for them, even with the current games Amazon is playing.

                                                                                • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                  MacMcK1957

                                                                                  Kobo has demonstrated that some people will pay more for a quality device.  Mrs. Mac is still using her four-year-old Kindle, and it suits her needs just fine.  I thought the improvement from the N1E to the NST worth the money of upgrading, but I probably wouldn't have gotten the NSTG if they hadn't fire-saled it prior to releasing the new Glow.  I suspect the mythical Julie (remember her?) is not looking for an upgraded device, and she buys a lot of books.

                                                                                    • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                      bobstro

                                                                                      Good point, Mac. I didn't mean to imply that the entire population of eink owners out there would be willing to pay more (nearly double) for a higher-end device. But Kobo did demonstrate that there is a higher-end market for eink. Yeah, some can point out that the original Aura HD numbers weren't... blah blah blah. Nonetheless, Kobo has doubled-down with the H2O, which compares favorably with Amazon's new Voyage without trying to imitate it. I hesitated to lay out the cash for a KPW. When the H2O became available, I hardly hesitated. It offered the features I cared about, not just imitations of what Amazon offered.

                                                                                       

                                                                                      One point worth making is that Kobo doesn't actually manufacture the Auras. The same manufacturer would be happy to produce them to spec for anybody, and they've got some other very interesting options (e.g. pen annotation). My point is that a lot of the anti-Amazon mindset seems to be based on competing with Amazon on Amazon's terms by imitating Amazon's products. There are other opportunities out there, even if no one of them unseats Amazon.

                                                                                        • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                          keriflur

                                                                                          Bob George wrote:

                                                                                          Kobo has doubled-down with the H2O, which compares favorably with Amazon's new Voyage without trying to imitate it.

                                                                                          Well, it would have been REALLY HARD to imitate the Voyage, as the H2O was out before the Voyage was announced.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Bob, I suspect that even if the Voyage were a better device (and I suspect it is, and while I won't be doing a side-by-side like I did with the Aura and the Kindle, I'd expect similar results), you'd find a way to claim it wasn't.

                                                                                            • Re: Stop Amazon? Really?
                                                                                              bobstro

                                                                                              keriflur wrote:

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Well, it would have been REALLY HARD to imitate the Voyage, as the H2O was out before the Voyage was announced.

                                                                                              I wasn't exactly sure of the timing. I know the Amazon announcement came out well after the H2O started advanced orders, but that really wasn't the point. The design and build had to start darn-near concurrently, to which my point is that Kobo:

                                                                                               

                                                                                              1. Wasn't trying to imitate Amazon's success.
                                                                                              2. Was willing to take a measured risk with a high-end device with key features that nobody else was prioritizing (waterproofiness, 6.8 inch screen).
                                                                                              Bob, I suspect that even if the Voyage were a better device (and I suspect it is, and while I won't be doing a side-by-side like I did with the Aura and the Kindle, I'd expect similar results), you'd find a way to claim it wasn't.

                                                                                              Ouch! Where'd that come from Keri? I've never claimed the Kobo H2O was better than the Voyage. I've never seen a Voyage compare to. I have only stated that Kobo put out the H2O without following Amazon, which you've just confirmed above. The Voyage may very well be better in some regards, but the H2O has set a high bar. Certainly for my primary usage, which is in water! The H2O is a great device. If you want a device, particularly if you are Amazon-adverse.