Monday, February 01, 2010

Apple and Amazon – Be nice to your science fiction writers

This Friday, when the traditional media was going to sleep, Amazon removed all Macmillan books from its online store. Not just eBooks, everything.

It was a bold move in a price-and-control technology-transition-type war with book publishers. Superficially, it looks like the kind of thing Apple did to the music labels. Corporate warfare – who cares?

Except there’s always collateral damage. In this case, including science fiction writers.

Who are, often, geeks. Geeks who write. Geeks who write well for money. Geeks with printing presses and readers.

By Friday night, the hellfire had begun …

It kept coming through the weekend. By Sunday Amazon surrendered unconditionally …

I never even got to write the blog post I was mentally composing.

I wonder how long it took Amazon’s executive team to recognize they had to bail. Six hours?

They never even got to face the wrath of the mystery fans, much less the romance readership. For both of those readerships, however, the news and response would have had to go through ailing newspaper channels. The response cycle would have taken weeks, and Amazon’s ploy might have worked.

Science fiction writers have a far more connected, and more vicious, readership.

I trust Amazon and Apple have learned something. If they want to crush book publishers, they must first win over the science fiction writers. They are, however, a very suspicious and imaginative bunch …

PS. Amazon just killed the Kindle. Smart move guys.

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