Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doc Serls New Book's Irony

I love Doc Searls and David Weinberger, two of the co-authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Both are fellows at Harvard. I follow their blogs and their tweets and buy their books. Except this time.

Doc's newest book, The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge has just been released. It's a book he has been working on diligently while at Harvard evangelizing about VRM -- Vendor Relationship Management. Harvard Business Review Press is the publisher.

VRM's premise is that the customer will take control of the supply/demand equation and will drive supply far more directly, efficiently, and compellingly than ever before.

Coincidentally, made the book available in hardcover and Kindle editions a couple of weeks early and within a couple of days of when the federal government brought suit against Apple and six major publishers for collusion in pricing of e-book editions. The Apple action resulted in Amazon having to raise their Kindle e-book prices from a $9.99 price-point to whatever the publisher set -- which has been for the past two years something close to $15. Is there a single Kindle owner that likes the new pricing? Obviously, no.

Harvard Business Review Press set the Kindle e-book price at $14.85 while currently Amazon is listing a $15.84 price for the hard cover. That price disparity does not make sense.

An e-book is just bits that can be stored and distributed for a couple of pennies, at most.

A hardcover book requires paper, ink, printing, bindings, hard cover, packing, shipment to Amazon, storage on the shelf, picking and packing by Amazon and delivery by UPS. There is no way that that can happen for $0.99.

Typically, if the book is a must have and the hardcover price is only a buck more, I'll opt for the hardcover and then when I'm finished reading it, I will give it to a friend or the library so that others can enjoy it. This means that the author, the publisher and Amazon lose out on a potential sale.

This time, I am opting to not purchase either. Why? I want to draw attention to Doc's premise. I want to be the customer that says enough of the greed regarding pricing of e-books. And, the ammunition that I am using is right there on the Amazon page for The Intention Economy where a major bullet says:

Soon consumers will be able to... tell whole markets what they want, how they want it, where and when they should be able to get it, and how much it should cost

Doc, I want to buy the Kindle edition from Amazon for $9.99. Would you please inform your publisher?

It would be exceedingly ironic if they don't listen after funding your research and publishing the book. If they believe in your premise, they should be leading a movement of listening to the customer versus following the greedy collusion crowd. (And, I'm betting you'd sell a lot more e-books!)

1 comment:

  1. Just tweeted this out....working hard on getting my 600+ blogs in my reader weeded down a bit. Not getting to all my daily reads yet. LOL!