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The Roundup June 11

Amazon probably thought the Kindle would be the next iPod . . .

In another sign that book publishers are looking to embrace alternatives to Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book store, Simon & Schuster has agreed to sell digital copies of its books on Scribd.com, a popular document-sharing Web site. . . .

Unlike Amazon, which sets the retail price for its e-books and sells them in its own proprietary Kindle format, Scribd is offering publishers considerably more control over how their digital titles are sold.

Simon & Schuster will sell its books on Scribd for 20 percent off the list price of the most recent print edition. Amazon sets a price of $9.99 for many popular e-books, meaning titles there might be less expensive. But Scribd will allow publishers to see what is selling and change their prices accordingly.

(“,” New York Times, June 11) But publishers aren’t going to be suckered the way the music companies were suckered by Apple. “Success leaves tracks” is a common saying among the success gurus, but it’s equally true that “failure leaves tracks,” too. And when those tracks go happily marching off a cliff, well, it’s easier to learn from those tracks than “success” tracks. Having seen the music companies become ball-and-chained to Apple, who has all the power in the relationship, publishers are going to do everything to not cede power over the e-book market to Amazon. And how did Apple really screw its content partners? I mean, really screw them from here to Alberquerque? By not allowing them . . . or the marketplace . . . to set maximum prices. Great for Apple, because that meant a significant amount of content was underpriced, which drove up demand and Apple’s take. Bad for the music publishers because, well, a whole lot of people were buying songs for 99 cents who would happily have paid more. In this unequal alliance, Apple gets the biggest share of the demand. No way the publishers are going to let Amazon play the same game with them as the patsies.


It’s tomorrow folks. Tomorrow. June 12. You’ve had all year and now you’ve got less than a few hours . . .

Just days before the June 12 transition to digital TV, 2.8 million households, or 2.5% of the TV market, are still unprepared. According to Nielsen’s final update released Wednesday, the new tally is half of the 5.8 million that were unprepared in February when the government postponed the transition by three months. . . .

Albuquerque-Santa Fe, N.M. is the least ready with 7.58% of TV homes completely unprepared. There are also several of the nation’s largest markets that have percentages of unprepared TV households in the 4 to 5% range, including Dallas-Ft. Worth, Seattle-Tacoma, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

(“2.8 million unprepared for DTV switch,” Hollywood Reporter, June 10) They’re going to tune in to Grey’s Anatomy and just get grey. And some entrepreneurial store owner who’s been following all this will be ready with a June 12 promotion and clear his store. June 12 is opportunity day for the right entrepreneurs.

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