Showing posts with label Book Depository. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Depository. Show all posts

Monday, 19 December 2011

E-Book News Before Christmas...

As there are sure to be numerous e-readers being unwrapped this Christmas, I hope some of your books are bought to be read on them...

According to some commentators downloading e-books seems to have become a Boxing Day activity...

2010 and into 2011 has seen ups and downs in the e-book world. First the furore over some publishers moving to the 'agency model' for pricing of their e-books-which resulted in temporary unavailability of their books on the websites of Waterstones, The Book Depository and Amazon until agreements were brokered...

Earlier this month the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) announced that they were closing their investigation into e-book sales (and probably also the agency model issue). They began this investigation in January this year, and not long after that the European authorities raided the Euro based offices of some publishers, for their own enquiries into possible competition violations.

You can read my past blog post about this subject at the time here and here.

The OFT have closed their investigation citing "because the OFT believes, following discussions with the European Commission, that the European Commission is currently well placed to arrive at a comprehensive resolution of this matter and will do so as a matter of priority." Read the Bookseller article here.

Perhaps the OFT discovered during the course of their investigations that it was too big an issue to handle by themselves (but that's just my opinion).

If you have the time it is worth reading the article by Juliette Garside from The Observer and Guardian website. Apple's need to avoid drowning in the Amazon ocean has also brought them into the investigation too.

I've certainly noticed a difference in prices for print versions of books compared to digital this Christmas. But whatever the Commission's results,  2012 is certainly going to be an interesting year for digital.

And if you do get an e-reader for Christmas, enjoy. :-)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The OFT Decision on the Amazon/Book Depository Merger is a Disappointment...

I think there are a lot of readers and writers who will disappointed today; the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has cleared Amazon in its intention to take over the Book Depository. They will not be referring the take-over to the Competition Commission.

You can read this article on the Bookseller website that explains some of the reasoning for this decision.

The Booksellers Association, one of a number of organisations who sent representations to the OFT during the consultation period this summer, are concerned that Amazon could put its competitors out of business, now the take-over has got the go-ahead.

"Tim Godfray, chief executive of the BA, said: “ Amazon now has even more power to put its bookseller competitors out of business and, having done that, it will be in an excellent position to increase prices and/or reduce choice.” "
The BA website didn't have anything about the OFT decision in the news section of their website at the time I posted this, so here's to The Bookseller again.

I'd be very surprised if Amazon hadn't been preparing for the merger in the meantime, so I don't expect its completion to take too long now.

Amazon features in the financial news today, with the announcement that their third quarter's profits have slumped (that's July to September) - likely due to their investment in the new Kindle devices, Fire and Touch.

This time next year it may be an entirely different situation.

So for those book buyers who don't want to buy from Amazon, now is the time to support small booksellers, or go to the publisher and buy direct from them- a lot of them are offering this now.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Ever Had One of Those Days?

Finally I've got some time to post.

It isn't just me that has been having one of those days- when things just don't go as you planned.

A few days ago The Bookseller announced that the expected result of whether the OFT (Office of Fair Trading) will refer the merger of Amazon and The Book Depository to the Competition Commission  was being delayed until Friday 2nd September, rather than the end of August as expected.

Then on Thursday further delays were announced. No reason has been given and the list of merger cases on the OFT's website just shows the date as to be confirmed (TBC). They generally state that
" the timetable of a given case may change during the merger assessment process due to different reasons."

The merger attracted widespread opposition from many writing and publishing related organisations. I'm sure many individuals would have voiced their concerns too.

* * *

Meanwhile high street bookseller Waterstones (now under new ownership) announced that they will no longer be running their 3 for 2 promotions.

Seems a lot of people, me included, only ever found two books they wanted. I found that less of a problem with the 3 for 2 in children's books.

The scheme that will replace it sounds interesting, but whether it is good for all writers or just some, time will tell...

* * *

I've spent today looking at washing machines. Our current one finally packed up yesterday and it did it with my swimming costume and a number of large towels inside.

My dear other half rescued my costume and hung it up so it would be ready for my aqua class, but there are now a lot of very wet towels to dry, and my new machine will not be delivered until next week...

Sadly the tribulations didn't stop there. I'd just got on the bus (to go to my aqua class) when the traffic ahead slowed to a halt. A flat-bed wagon loaded with large bales of hay had stopped just off the roundabout and partially blocked the slip road my bus had to use.

The bus was going nowhere- too wide for the remaining gap- and as I wasn't going to get to my class in time I got off and went home- that was when I saw the bales on the path and others hanging off the wagon...

The wagon is gone but the escaped hay is now in a big heap, on the top of the banking which runs along the edge of the road, waiting to be retrieved. (If it's still there tomorrow I'll take a photo.)

So at least it wasn't just me having one of those days...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Further News re: Amazon and the Book Depository...

The OFT (Office of Fair Trading) has issued an 'invitation to comment' on the acquisition of The Book Depository by Amazon.

Written representations about any competition or public interest issues can be sent to the OFT- details here. This is open for comment until the 18th July. (They apparently expect to have made a decision on referal by the end of August.)

You can read more on the website.

Obviously the 'invitation to comment' does not necessarily guarantee an investigation, but it's part of the process that leads up to it.

This acquisition could take a long time to occur...

Monday, 4 July 2011

Amazon To Acquire the Book Depository...

Amazon is one of those companies that you can choose to avoid, but not anymore...

Yes, they've been a great boon to writers wanting to get their work out to readers via Kindle- but let's not ignore the fact that Amazon benefits from this too- they make money on every sale.

But I was dismayed to read on the website that Amazon " has reached an agreement to acquire The Book Depository". Having seen some of the tweets showing on the BD home page many of their customers weren't too happy either...

Many book buyers choose to use The Book Depository rather than purchase from Amazon- I'm sure many of them refuse because they don't like Amazon's practices.

Amazon has it's place but even I can see this is a liberty too far. There is now no longer (or seems not to be)any real alternative to being able to buy a wide range of books online. They have stopped the serious competition.

Even major booksellers can't compete on price or range when they're up against Amazon.

Perhaps now is the time for publishers to consider their responses to Amazon's cut of the profits. After all if the publisher doesn't have much choice anymore in who they can supply, nor the terms they can agree to sell on, then the readers and especially the writers both suffer...

Hopefully the OFT will look at this. But I doubt it will qualify for investigation by the Mergers Commission as their criteria requires three things and this won't qualify on the "two or more enterprises must cease to be distinct." Amazon will still be Amazon at the end of it...

"In exceptional cases where public interest issues are raised, the Secretary of State may also refer mergers to the CC."

So perhaps the Secretary of State covering arts and the media needs a deluge of letters...

So what do you think?

UPDATE: After I posted the above and went offline the Bookseller website got more information. The Book Depository are saying they will continue to trade independently of Amazon. Read more here.