When Apple goes before a federal appeals court on Dec. 15, trying to overturn the ebooks price-fixing judgment the Justice Department won against it in July 2013, there will be an elephant in the room.
That would be Amazon, the much admired and greatly feared discounter, which is not a party in the case. Yet the unposed question hovering over the proceedings will be: Did the regulators target the right bully?
The case stems from events that occurred five years ago, when Apple was preparing to launch its first iPad. Apple's negotiator extraordinaire, Eddy Cue
Apple is edging closer to declaring an all-out war against mega retailers like Walmart, Best Buy and CVS with its payment system. The big shopping chains do not want Apple butting into their customer relationship and have already rejected the use of Apple Pay. Yet despite the stringent opposition from the leading bricks and mortar players, Apple Pay is already more popular than all other NFC solutions combined after only one week of availability.
What makes many rival payment solutions so clunky is that you typically have to open an application to access them
The failure of the Fire Phone has been widely cited as the reason for Amazon's disastrous quarter, but a darker cloud has settled over the world's biggest online retailer. The core of Amazon's business-its original reason for being: selling books and other media-has grown wobbly. The problem: many people no longer want to buy stuff. They'd rather rent.
Amazon is not alone. This long-predicted shift in consumer priorities-from ownership to access-also seems to be taking a bite out of Apple, another business that depends on convincing people to buy things.
Apple and Samsung have led the market substantially since the inception of media tablets. However, the race for third is up for grabs and competition is heating up between Lenovo, Amazon, ASUS, and other emerging vendors. The aggressive nature of the market and substantial increase in emerging vendors has created a stall for leaders in the market giving PC OEMs the opportunity to close the gap between leaders and followers. According to market intelligence firm ABI Research, emerging vendors are forecasted to experience a CAGR of 22.8% between 2014 and 2019.
The chance to publish the second edition of our Guide to Digital Publishing Platformswas a great opportunity to rethink many of the basic concepts of book publishing such as the role of the cover, and the need for using as many digital bookstores as possible. It is common wisdom that when publishing a book, the cover design is one of the most important elements that will influence a book's sales success. Much money is spent employing book design experts to make sure a book cover is attractive and lures the reader in.
This month we're asking the Chefs about customer focus. The question was inspired by a comment that Rick Anderson posted in August in which he wondered if the enhancements and features publishers implement are truly focused on customer needs. Seeing all of the Chefs' responses, and having opinions of my own, I find it very interesting that almost everyone, in one manner or another, took a step back and pondered: Who are the customers?
If you spend any time at all buying digital music, movies or other media, you get used to dealing with nonsensical rules about what you can and can't do with the things you bought. But every so often the digital media business surprises you and gets it right.
So here's one of those pleasant surprises: Both Apple and Amazon are going to let their customers share stuff they've bought from their digital storefronts with family members. Just like you can in real life.
It's been over 15 years since the first dedicated e-readers were released, and over seven since the first Kindle. Today, about 15% of consumer spending on books is electronic and about 30% of books sold are e-books. The majority of book readers still only read in print, and only 6% of readers read e-books exclusively. It's clear that e-books are here to stay, but it's less clear that the complete dismantling of the publishing industry is around the corner.
The estimable Clay Shirky has written a lengthy piece called "Amazon, Publishers, and Readers" on medium.com saying, essentially, that an Amazon-dominated world would be an improvement over the Big Five "cartel"-dominated world of publishing we have today. This is an apples to oranges comparison. The Big Five are not nearly as broad a cartel as Amazon - which reaches way beyond the consumer books they publish - is a monopsony. Amazon touches much more of the book business than the Big Five publishers do.
Books were never bundled in the way that songs were. It didn't make sense. They were never restricted to a single broadcast channel, like TV networks and later, cable. Okay, short story collections are sold as a bundle. But no one thinks that short stories represent an MP3-style opportunity. It's easy to access single chapters on Safari Books Online (owned by O'Reilly Media), but Safari's pricing uses an all-you-can-eat model of monthly and annual subscriptions.