there is an article about the resolution to a struggle betweenAmazon and Macmillian and Company book publishers. The point of contention wasover which company would set the prices for digital copies of Macmillian books published for the Kindle, Amazon's e-reader.As most of you may know, Amazon's e-reader has been the break out hit of the digitaldevices allowing consumers to download and read books, magazines and newspapers.Publishers of all three types of print media have developed a love/hate relationship withthe online retailing giant. The love part relates to the ease and lack of expense related to publishing and distributing over the Kindle system. My in house publishing firm,viscerality.com, publishes over the Kindle system and it is very simple.The hate part of this relationship involves two primary issues. The first of these issues isimmediate and pressing. Amazon has always insisted on a set maximum price, $9.99, for copyright protected books, and a specified split of the resulting revenue between Amazonand the customer.The second issue rankling the publishers is the clear ability of Amazon and other online publishing systems, samashwords.com. Apple, Sony, etc., to offer authors a means of freeing themselves from the gatekeeper role publishers have played since the inception of print media. It is this second, latent, matter hanging over publishers that is the mostworrisome, if not the most pressing.The
article analyzed Amazon's recent capitulation to Macmillian over the pricing issue and, perhaps, though details between the companies related to revenuesharing are not public information, the percentages shared by the parties to a sale. Thearticle declares that "content is king" in the book publishing business.The fact is, content has always been king and, the Monkies not withstanding, in all probability, always will be. Ted Turner, the Atlanta media mogul and billionaire,demonstrated this truth many decades ago when, against all advice to the contrary, hecontinually purchased content ownership to give his cable channels a leg up oncompetition. He began with purchasing pro sports teams, the Atlanta Hawks and Braves,and "selling" his stations exclusive broadcast rights to the games. In a huge gamble,Turner borrowed heavily at junk bond interest rates to purchase several movie studioarchives and formed exclusive movie channels showing old movies contained in theacquisitions' vaults.This last big gamble almost broke him before it catapulted him into such a strong positionof wealth he was able to invent the 24 hour news channel known as CNN. At first, thisgamble was derided, called the chicken noodle network, until the international political policy wonks became addicted to it. CNN, it is said, was the only clear winner of the firstGulf War.While Turner media empire is one clear example of content being king, the entire publishing industry made that point perfectly clear centuries before Ted came along.