Monday, February 4, 2008

Amazon is Scaring Me

Amazon bought Audible.com. Read the story at Switched.

This disturbs me. Oh, not in and of itself-- when you purchase downloadable audio books from Amazon you are automatically redirected to Audible, so the acquisition makes sense from that standpoint.

But in light of Amazon's acquisition of Brilliance Audio last May (Dear Author; Publisher's Weekly), it raises all kinds of warning flags for my ability to feed my audio book addiction.

I might be wrong, and I hope I am. After all, I've noticed that AudioBookStand (Brilliance Audio's direct sales outlet along with AudioBookstandDL) frequently offers pre-release discount prices on some of their upcoming releases on CD just like Amazon does. So, that was a post-acquisition improvement. And AudioBookstand still has clearance sales on older/overstocked audio books, so Amazon didn't take that away from them.

The downloadable audio book prices have me a bit concerned, though. AudioBookStandDL's download prices remain at full, outrageous list price. Combine that with the fact that downloading an Audible audio book through Amazon is usually more expensive than downloading through Audible directly at member pricing, and I have to wonder if Amazon is going to ratchet up Audible's prices to list price, too.

Audible's reasonable prices were one of the main factors in creating my audio book addiction in the first place. If you go to Recorded Books and look at their list prices, then compare them to what Audible sells the same book for at member pricing, you'll see that there is a HUGE difference. For example, Stephanie Laurens' The Lady Chosen (unabridged) sells for $61.95 on CD from Recorded Books, buy it in download format from Audible and the price is $41.97 for non-members and $29.38 for members. And that is one of the higher priced Romance books at Audible. Most audio books I've bought from them are under $20 and they send periodic sale emails where I can stock up at even bigger discounts.

Maybe I'm concerned over nothing. Maybe Amazon will let both companies continue to operate autonomously. Or maybe Amazon will fold AudioBookStandDL and instead offer downloadable Brilliance audio through Audible with Audible's discount pricing. On the one hand, that MIGHT benefit consumers, but on the other hand, it might mean, now that Amazon controls the audio book market, they can set prices wherever they damn well please. Maybe even lower prices for their Kindle audio format (yes, there is one now) with higher prices for the rest of us that aren't interested in that damn thing.

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Speaking of Amazon and their Kindle ebook reader-- they are screwing up my book searches, dammit! I have my Index by Author set up to automatically do an Amazon search by publication date for each author because it's the easiest way to find new and upcoming releases. Well, every time they convert an ebook to Kindle format, it shows up as a new release and I have to weed through all those to find the REAL new and upcoming books. I need a way to say "-Kindle" in the search so it will ignore all of those. And if there IS one, and I haven't figured it out, quit laughing at me and TELL me how to do it!

2 comments:

Madame Butterfly said...

OH Crap. That doesn't sound good. I hope Amazon doesn't mess with stuff too much, but you never know. I hate any company having a monopoly on a certain market. I still haven't signed up for books on Audible, I was waiting to pay off the holiday bills first. But now I might have to really check it out first.

I hope it works out in the customer's favor or that they don't mess with formats. Currently, Audible lets you download to iTunes, which works for me.

I'm freaking out about Microsoft taking over Yahoo. If that happens I will have to change all my email addresses to G-mail. And I will have to find a new IM other than messenger, which I really like, cause I will NOT use anything Microsoft affiliated online. Not IE, not hotmail, not MSN, none of it. I hate when something is working and then someone comes in an messes with it.

Crap.

QB said...

I don't know. I've got a wait and see attitude about the Microsoft/Yahoo marriage. I figure it's in direct response to Google's continuing plans to take over the world.

Hmmm... can't imagine WHY that would make Microsoft twitchy. LOL