Thursday, April 22, 2010

Apple bigger than Microsoft

It's extraordinary! Apple's market capitalization is more than Microsoft's, at least according to some reports, though others disagree. Whatever the status now Apple is predicted to surpass Microsoft this year.

Ten years ago such a thing would have been unthinkable, which makes Apple's triumph is all the more interesting as a business story.

Apple's growth has been on the strength of the iPhone and other pieces of cleverness. As a longer term user & fan of Macs, I am so pleased to see a smart and stylish company being rewarded with success. For Mac fans it feels like the world has come along to join us.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

more on agency pricing

This is worth a read (and the comments):

My understanding is that publishers are in the box seat with agency pricing as they can control and enforce the price in a way they couldn't with pbooks. The eworld actually gives (large) publishers more control.

That's one of the scary things about ebooks and downloaded music. The owner or licensor of the copyright can reach right into the guts of your computer via the channel of supply and manage the rights embedded in 'your' books and music.

Melissa (downstairs) only buys CDs - she wants to have something physical for her money, something she can fall back on when the online world gets a bit screwy.

Agency pricing is putting publishers in the box seat

BooksOnBoard sent out the following note. I found it interesting how quickly things can change in the online environment: with the tap of a few keys a big chunk of the catalogue comes down and on the other hand how complex the software systems are to manage the change.

There's no change to the audio catalogue. No agency pricing change, or already sold on the agency pricing system? And I'm not sure why: "choose the MP3 versions where available to avoid Digital Rights Management issues"?

Dear BooksOnBoard Customer:

You may have noticed a change in our store the last few days. While ALL of our UK store titlesMailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be ( are still available and most of our US eBooks are still available, some are temporarily unavailable in the US store MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be ( We still have more than 70% of our US eBook catalog available for you. We also still have all of the audio books we carried previously from ALL of the publishers available in both stores.

As you can see by this newsletter, there are some very good books and some really great deals available, including New York Times bestsellers from Danielle Steel, Stephenie Meyer, and Elizabeth Berg - all with great discounts AND significant Rewards Dollars. Additionally, we have great prices for the audio book versions of most of these eBook titles. (We recommend you choose the MP3 versions where available to avoid Digital Rights Management issues.).

iphone mailer
We expect to have almost all of the missing titles back by the middle of the month (we do recommend backing up your files to avoid rare issues like this). This issue is due to the sudden switch to a fixed price system (aka agency pricing) by 5 of the 7 largest publishers last Thursday. Over one thousand other publishing imprints are NOT going to this system, including our 3 most popular publishers. Their titles are all still available on our site at good discounts and with Rewards Dollars.

In this agency pricing system, retailers act as agents for the 5 agency publishers . The publishers assign a Required Ebook Price (REP) that every retailer must charge to customers. BooksOnBoard’s systems were ready for this change on April 1, but the publishers and our wholesalers – dealing with a more complex set of circumstances - have not yet been able to change their systems to accommodate the tricky changes required to get ebooks from these publishers to you under the new system. These changes involve unique sales tax requirements by each publisher depending on where the publishers have offices, changes in territories for titles that have yet to be fully disclosed to us, and a tracking system so that the 5 publishers can be certain we are not discounting their titles. The publishers, unfortunately, underestimated the task and gave the wholesalers only two weeks notice of the change.

In the meanwhile, we still offer 250,000 titles for sale, including everything from Random House, Harlequin, McGraw Hill, Kensington, Samhain, and over a thousand more publishing imprints. These represent your most popular publishers and most of the eBooks our customers want are still on the site. These titles also continue to enjoy discounts and Rewards dollars when you buy.

Thank you for all support of our shop in the past. We look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincere regards,

Bob LiVolsi
CEO & Founder