Amazon wins early chapter over Apple in eBook war

Apr 12, 2012
Finance

Could Apple’s biggest rival in 2012 and beyond be Amazon (rather than Google, Microsoft, Facebook or anyone else)? First, Amazon emerged as a serious threat to Apple in the tablet space, last year unveiling the Kindle Fire for a market-setting $199 price point. Now, due to allegations by the U.S. government of price collusion between […]

Could Apple’s biggest rival in 2012 and beyond be Amazon (rather than Google, Microsoft, Facebook or anyone else)?

First, Amazon emerged as a serious threat to Apple in the tablet space, last year unveiling the Kindle Fire for a market-setting $199 price point. Now, due to allegations by the U.S. government of price collusion between Apple and major publishers, Amazon could hold a long-term advantage over Apple in the eBooks category.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, there were literal backroom dealings between publishers to raise the prices on eBooks from the $9.99 baseline that Amazon instituted when the original Kindle came out more than five years ago.

“The five publishers and Apple hatched an arrangement that lifted the price of many best-selling e-books to $12.99 or $14.99,” The Wall Street Journal reported regarding the suit. “The publishers then banded together to impose that model on Amazon, the government alleged.”

This is obviously a no-no if it were the case. Three of the five publishers named already settled, while Apple and two publishers are sticking to their guns.

In the months leading up the unveiling of the iPad in April 2010, publishers apparently saw an opportunity to use the new device as a way to raise prices on electronic titles. Prior to the iPad, Amazon and Kindle had a 90 percent share of the eBook market.

Earlier this year, Apple announced aggressive plans to alter the textbook industry, selling titles on iBooks 2 for as little as $15.

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The Wall Street Journal article speculates whether Apple would even remain in the eBooks business if pressure persists, noting analyst assessments that “Apple’s e-book market share is small and immaterial to its business.”

Consumers take note that eBooks would still be available on the iPad from third-party apps, including Kindle.

Stay tuned. This could be a real page-turner.

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Brad Spirrison

Brad Spirrison is the managing editor of appoLearning and Appolicious Inc. In this capacity, he has sampled and evaluated thousands of iOS and Android applications. He also holds an M.A. in Education and Media Ecology from New York University.

Spirrison worked in concert with appoLearning Expert and Instructional Technology Specialist Leslie Morris while curating and evaluating educational applications.

A longtime media and technology commentator and executive, Spirrison is also a regular contributor to ABC News, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Bloomberg West and The Christopher Gabriel Program.

Spirrison is married and lives with his wife and young son in Chicago. As his son was born just weeks before the debut of the iPad, Spirrison takes his work home with him and regularly samples and enjoys a variety of educational applications for young children.

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