Thursday, April 12, 2012

Government Poisons Apple Over EBooks; Amazon Moves To Kill Book Industry

Make no mistake, Apple colluded with the major book publishers, but it was a necessary evil to combat the greater one of Amazon building its empire at the hands of publishers, authors, and bookstores.  Our Justice Department did not dispense justice this time around.  It screwed up by suing Apple for creating its “agent” model, which allows the publishers to set the price of the e-books and Apple takes 30% of that.  Who was the Justice Dept really protecting?  Amazon.

Amazon is the bully of the book industry.  Consumers don’t care because Amazon’s strategy to make every point of its business a loss-leader brings lower-than-market-value pricing for e-readers and e-books.  But they should care when, as a result of these practices, there will be weakened and diminished competition, which will lead to price increases and a curbing of book availability. 

Not every monopoly is bad. Over a decade ago, the Justice Dept. took Microsoft down for being a monopoly.  They forever weakened a great company that helped revolutionize computer software.  The government may have been technically right to slow the giant down but I think it would have been better to have left Microsoft alone. But amazon poses a grave danger that needs to be contained. 

The problem with Amazon is that they act in a predatory manner.  It’s a reverse capitalism.  Ideally, creative people industriously build companies and sell useful products and services at a fair-market price.  Companies try to charge as much as they can until competition catches up and causes prices to decline. Amazon wants to shrink profits and sacrifice short-term profitability so they can (a) kill bookstores and (b) kill publishers.  They own 60% of the e-book market and over 30% of the overall book market. 

Those numbers will balloon soon.

The government just allowed Amazon to pursue its scorched earth policy by smacking Apple and the biggest publishers with legal troubles. 

The only thing that will save the book industry is for Amazon to be sued by the government or for shareholders of Amazon to abandon a stock that trades way over its profitability.  I believe Amazon had done a lot of good years ago to promote e-commerce and offers great customer service, but when it comes to how it operates within the book industry it can be seen as nothing less than the greatest threat to the industry.  It’s more dangerous than censorship, book bans, and price collusions put together.

Consumers need to do their part, too.  They must buy from bookstores and support their local communities and the printed book.  They should buy e-books from Apple, the Nook, and other e-reader sources.  If we don’t act soon, Amazon Qaeda will have won a victory that won’t be easy to reverse. 

Interview With Children’s Book Author Darcie Mae

1.   Darcie, how did you get involved in children’s books?  When the towers went down I was in the woods building a log cabin. I was at peace, while the world was going crazy. I noticed that children were afraid and worrying just like their parents. That’s when I decided I wanted to write children’s books that would entertain their minds and help keep them from worrying about things in the world. They will have plenty of time for that later in their lives. That is when I started writing The Peably series, which I offer free to read on my website. Since then I have written 100’s of stories. I just signed with Jennifer Etherton Literary Agency and am hoping for the best.

2.      What are some of the themes of your books?   On my site I have the Sammy & Robert series that talk of a gray and red squirrel who are best friends. Gray and red squirrels did not get along so they decided to take off for the summer. They have many adventures, 6 books with 12 stories. Children will learn from these adventures. In the fall they return home and realize they because of their leaving they have changed the way gray and red squirrels think. They are friends now and do everything together. The last two books are holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas stories. I have the Mother Mouse series on my website. This is 4 books with 7 stories. Mother Mouse tells young mice stories that teach them lessons, manners, measurements, opposites, shapes, ways of transportation, and a holiday Thanksgiving and Christmas book.

I have written a story to share profits with Locks Of Love. I have written a story to share the profits with the ASPCA. I have written stories about death and dealing with that as a child, counting. colors, telling time, clothing, getting glasses, going to the dentist, helping others, bullying, doing things backwards, jumping,, bullying, and a wounded marine that helps children find answers to questions they have. Antonyms, homonyms, synonyms. A tree that talks to children only telling them the correct things to do. Holidays, Easter, Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day. A story about two deer, a story about a black bear, picking potatoes, and hats-mittens-coats-boots. Farmer John’s farm is one of my favorite. A Bunny family, having fun for a day, and on and on the stories  go. I continue writing today.

3.      Why do you love to write?  I love to write and read my stories to children and see how they enjoy them. I substitute school and always take a story to read and coloring pictures that go with that story. The kids love it.

4.      What do you enjoy about the creative process?  Thinking about what I want to write and putting it all together on paper. Then if I want to illustrate it I have to go through a process of picturing what I think a child would want to see on that page.

5.      What are the rewards and challenges in working in the book publishing industry?  It is incredibly hard to get anyone to look at your work. I have had to try for years before I hooked up with this agency. It’s sad because any story for children should be enjoyed by children and not sitting on a shelf.

6.      Where do you see the industry heading?  I think there will be all kinds of electronic reading books available, but I also believe there will always be the need for a paper book. There is nothing like the smell of a new book or the smell of paper and pen while you are  writing.

7.      What advice do you have for struggling writers?  “Words can change a life. Make a god change. Read a child a book.” Quote by me, Darcie Mae: Don’t give up. Keep trying in any way you can to get your story out there. If you don’t keep trying it will get stuck on a shelf.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, a leading book publicity firm. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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