Okay, here's the situation as it seems to be shaping up (this is all based on semi-sketchy reports as there has been no official word from either party so details may be off, or even completely wrong - but at this point this assessment seems to be accurate). Amazon and Macmillan had a contract. That contract expired. Macmillan offered two different contracts.
Contract 1: Amazon relinquishes control of their pricing, lets Macmillan set all retail pricing, and gives Macmillan a bigger cut (old contract was about 50% of list, Macmillan now wants 70% of list). This would most likely lead to e-book prices being raised above the current "standard" $9.99 price point for most bestsellers.
Contract 2: Amazon retains control of their pricing and keeps the 50% of list payout but Macmillan will hold all e-book versions until up to 7 months after the title has been released in hardcover. This could also eliminate the current "standard" $9.99 price point as once e-books are released over half a year after the hardcover edition, the title will no longer be on the bestseller list.
Apparently, Amazon has refused either of those options and thus was forced to remove all of Macmillan's titles from their shelves (both DTB and e-books). I'm guessing that Amazon felt that either of the two choices would hurt their customers, or at least alienate them. Which is not to say that Amazon was looking out for us. It merely means that they think we would be upset and therefore take our anger out on Amazon. This would hurt their bottom line. I hold no delusion that any of this is done by some altruistic sense of decency on the part of Amazon.
What should Amazon have done? Picked Contract 1? Picked Contract 2? Or did they make the correct choice in pulling Macmillan's product and trying to come up with some alternate contract that, in their minds, wouldn't upset their customer base?
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