Overstock Stays on Offensive Against Amazon

overstockOverstock.com announced that it would extend its “10% below Amazon” price promotion for all the books in its online store. So far, Amazon has matched Overstock’s lower prices step for step.

These are print books, of course, but the move must have publishers and bricks-and-mortar ebook retailers watching the entire book ecosystem worried.

One challenge that faces publishers in the ebook era is maintaining consumers’ willingness to pay relatively higher hardcover prices (say, $25 to $35), while selling the ebook version for much less. This is important for publishers, authors and agents because they want to be able to split the hardcover proceeds, with everyone getting something.

If consumers start to believe that all books should cost much less, than it could be hard for publishers to maintain their profit margins and for agents and authors to make much at all.

Related: Overstock Moves to Undercut Amazon Book Prices by 10%


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The rest of the day’s top news:

Hachette COO Ken Michaels Goes to Macmillan (Pub Lunch)
Hachette president and chief operating officer Ken Michaels is leaving the company and moving over to Macmillan where he will be COO at the company’s science and education division.

Hachette Beefs up Hyperion Staff With Publisher Hire (DBW)
Hachette has appointed Martha Levin as acting publisher of Hyperion Books, which the company acquired from Disney earlier in the year. Levin will build a team that will eventually lead a new nonfiction Hachette division with the Hyperion backlist as the backbone.

Cat’s Cradle 2? (DBW)
If you didn’t like the way Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece novel Cat’s Cradle ended (everyone dead), you can write your own version now and sell it on Amazon. The company has licensed the works of the sci-fi genius for its Kindle Worlds platform.

Hybrid Authors Conduct Consumer Study (e-bookformattingfairies)
A group of hybrid authors has banded together to conduct some consumer research to see what their readers read and just how they do it. More on this research later today. Related: Learn What Hybrid Authors Want From Publishers, Agents and Self-Publishing Platforms.

UK: Pay Authors For Library Ebook Borrows (Library Journal)
Starting in July 2014, the UK government will pay authors every time an ebook is checked out from a UK library.

Scholastic Promotions and Hires (DBW)
In the normal course of business, Scholastic has made a spate of new hires and promotions. A spokesperson tells us that this is nothing out of the ordinary and signals no major shift at the company.

Ingram Backs Discovery Start-up (PW)
Ingram Content Group’s investment arm has put some money behind Slicebooks, a new ebook discovery start-up.

Aquafadas Adds More Features (DBW)
The Kobo-owned production shop has added features that make reading texts with large downloadable files attached much more pleasant and that make it much easier to add photos to works.

New Publisher at AmazonCrossing (PW)
Sarah Jane Gunter is the new publisher of the Amazon imprint which publishes translations of foreign language titles. She is a long-time Amazon executive.

Wait, What? (Ukiah Community Blog)
Ten reasons print books are better than ebooks. Really?

Smell That Espresso Coffee (The Digital Reader)
The Digital Reader waxes poetic about a new Espresso Book Machine installed in a library 43 miles from where he lives. It’s not exactly local but it is something. Ah – to love this new digital book world we live in.

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