The First Flinch…Amazon gives in just a little bit

February 2, 2010
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Amazon_vs_Apple

 

I’ve raced road bikes on and off for more than 10-years. I am one of the tactically dumbest riders I know. It’s always been a short-coming when I’m out-there, and so I’ve spent many races having to rely on brute strength to place, while my team-mates use their brains more than their legs. But, as thick as I can be, I have managed to learn a couple of lessons well.

 

The first? Self-banter psychs-out the competition. I spend a lot of time in any race chatting happily (but loudly) to myself about my faux-fear of tight turns (the girls get out of the way fast, and voila, I’m through). I also find a lot of time to comment on tougher sections of the race, and how much I just love them. I’m sure to chirpily inquire the same of the girls nearby, knowing full well how demoralizing it is to hear, when you’re sucking wind.

 

The second? No matter how badly you hurt, NEVER look back. Looking over your shoulder in a bike race is the pugilist’s equivalent to a flinch. You look back, and she’s got you. You’re done. It may take her a few seconds, minutes, or even tens-of-minutes to devour you, but she will. Because she knows your weak, tired and scared.

 

Well, less than two weeks

Amazon_vs_Apple

 

I’ve raced road bikes on and off for more than 10-years. I am one of the tactically dumbest riders I know. It’s always been a short-coming when I’m out-there, and so I’ve spent many races having to rely on brute strength to place, while my team-mates use their brains more than their legs. But, as thick as I can be, I have managed to learn a couple of lessons well.

 

The first? Self-banter psychs-out the competition. I spend a lot of time in any race chatting happily (but loudly) to myself about my faux-fear of tight turns (the girls get out of the way fast, and voila, I’m through). I also find a lot of time to comment on tougher sections of the race, and how much I just love them. I’m sure to chirpily inquire the same of the girls nearby, knowing full well how demoralizing it is to hear, when you’re sucking wind.

 

The second? No matter how badly you hurt, NEVER look back. Looking over your shoulder in a bike race is the pugilist’s equivalent to a flinch. You look back, and she’s got you. You’re done. It may take her a few seconds, minutes, or even tens-of-minutes to devour you, but she will. Because she knows your weak, tired and scared.

 

Well, less than two weeks after an announcement that threw the publishing industry into a tizzy, Amazon has flinched. You may recall my last blog post showcasing Amazon’s e-publishing royalty terms. Amazon seemed to have leveled the playing field and eliminated the agent/publisher middle-man by promising authors who publish their e-books directly through Amazon for Kindle 70% of the e-book royalties.  

 

In a highly public back-tracking, Amazon accepted publishing house Macmillan’s e-book pricing proposal—allowing Macmillan, one of the six largest publishing houses in the US, to publish their books ranging from $12.99 to $14.99. Amazon had demanded $9.99. Amazon’s concession came after first removing the “buy” link to Macmillan’s catalog. As part of the deal, Macmillan will keep 30% commission on sales.

 

Scarily, for Amazon, the terms are identical to those under which five of the six top publishing houses—including Macmillan—sold rights to their respective catalogs to Apple iPad. So, Amazon can anticipate, I bet, four more calls from emboldened publishing executives who have a great card to play.

 

But, first, let me back up: it’s been a scary week for Amazon for several reasons. Yes, the Macmillan deal represents a costly and symbolic concession. But, couple that with the widely anticipated, although somewhat anti-climactic release of Apple’s worst-named product ever, and you have a business on the run.

 

I stand by my earlier blog-post, though. I think Amazon and Kindle are on to something. For all of my Apple brand-love, I don’t think that the iPad (snicker) will replace the need for a dedicated (and, affordable) reader. I think the market can bear the iPad and the Kindle. But, I’m wondering if Amazon believes the same.

 

Their concession to Macmillan, and my prediction of dominoes to follow, is the business equivalent of a flinch or quick glance over the shoulder. An agile competitor takes careful note and prepares to move in for the kill. Perhaps it’s time for Amazon to start trash-talking—that always worked well for me!

 

Colleen Quinn

 

*Image Source:Seattle PI Blogs


 

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