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Amazon, B&N, Neil Gaiman snit

Books in 2025: The Future of the Book World

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Oct 7, 2011, 8:15pm Top

Interesting snit today that shows the way things are going. DC comics made a deal with Amazon to offer 100 of their comics exclusively on the Kindle/Kindle Fire platform—cutting Apple, Barnes and Noble and so forth out of the mix. Barnes and Noble responded by yanking the physical versions of the books from their stores, which will no longer sell them. The titles aren't small ones, including Neil Gaiman's Sandman series, Alan Moore's Watchmen and others.

Bleeding Cool: "Photos – Down Come The DC Books At Barnes & Noble"

CNN: Money: "Barnes & Noble yanks Kindle exclusive comics from its shelves"

Quite a Twitter storm has ensued, fanned by Gaiman particularly. That DC's move made his books unaccessible to people with the misfortune to choose Nook, iPad, Kobo or Sony products isn't really noticed.

It seems to me this is what happens when the book world is reduced to a small number of players with proprietary stores and platforms. It could never happen in a world of small and medium-sized players, such as existed before ebooks, or before our reading choices were circumscribed by the electronic devices we chose to read it. It echoes indies' decision to not sell or do author events for books published by Amazon. We're going to see more and more of this, that is, until--as I expect--the biggest player simply wins.

Oct 7, 2011, 11:05pm Top

I'm surprised that Gaiman is criticizing B&N in particular. DC is the one that started this, and it's not surprising that there are consequences, even if they aren't good for anyone involved.

I do think that Amazon will just win in the end. But we won't be forced to use ereaders anytime soon; I see paper books remaining an option for a long time to come.

Oct 8, 2011, 7:50am Top

there are quite a few ebooks available for the kindle that are not available for other ebooks. I despise the practice and is another reason I would never get a kindle. when/if they ever accept epub I might reconsider. until then, no. And I blame the publishers for agreeing to limit distribution to only one platform.

Oct 8, 2011, 9:24am Top

My spouse and I were discussing this earlier today. In light of the fact that DC Comics is owned by Time Warner and Amazon is seeking to aggregate film and video content to play on their new tablets, it's possible that grabbing the exclusive rights to distribute the DC material via the Kindle Fire is as much tied to getting the rights to other visually-oriented content as anything else. One big syndication package all tied up together.

Note: We have no proof -- only gut instinct. Both my husband and I worked in the comics industry eons ago. We may no longer be fully current with all that's happening there but we do keep up to some extent.

Oct 8, 2011, 10:43am Top

I find it profoundly ironic that in an environment where the momentum is to make all information free, orchestrating exclusive access to content the big business plan adopted by all the major players.


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