Terrible, terrible reporting, and Macmillan books still not available
As of the time of this comment, Macmillan book are still not, in fact, available *from* Amazon. Some are available *through* Amazon, via the third-parties who sell through or affiliate with Amazon, but Amazon itself is still not selling the books directly. This means most titles are still unavailable and very little of the proceeds from those books will be paid to the authors, most of whom have royalty payment contracts which only count sales of new books.
Also, the Reg article failed to note that while the spat is over the price of E-BOOKS, Amazon pulled both the electronic *and* paper books, the pricing for which is not in dispute. This seems to me to be a disproportionate response. It would be rather like a chain of grocery stores pulling every Nabisco product from their shelves just because they didn't like the proposed price of Nabisco's new Jalapeno Cheddar Crackers.
For those of you who are siding with Amazon on this, please consider: despite what Amazon says about them looking out for the consumer, they are doing nothing of the sort. Amazon is looking out for Amazon. They don't want anything to (potentially) derail their attempt to entrench themselves and their Kindle reader as the "leader" in electronic books, which they (Amazon) have argued would be negatively impacted by higher e-book prices. Remember, this is only about *e-book* prices.
Yes, Macmillan's desire to raise e-book prices could be seen as detrimental to the well being of its authors. Yes, Macmillan's refusal to back down can be seen as the same. But it was *not* Macmillan who pulled Macmillan's titles from Amazon. Amazon did that itself, and did it for more than the disputed works. If Macmillan had done it, there would be a valid argument of villainy against Macmillan, but so far this is all Amazon.
As for Macmillan's desire for higher prices being a direct harm to its authors, that's between Macmillan and its authors, not between Amazon and Macmillan; even if Amazon were genuinely concerned for the authors' well being, they're strictly a third-party to that and shouldn't be involved.
Finally, even if Amazon were genuinely concerned for their *customers'* well being and are fighting on their behalf to keep prices low for them (they're not, but saying it for the sake of argument), then folks need to remember two things: 1) something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it, and if the price it too high then they won't; and 2) the books and prices in dispute are mostly fiction-- sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, etc-- which are entertainment, and that's an optional purchase. If a person just can't help themselves from paying $15 for a book, even though they think it's too high, then that's a whole different problem and no amount of effort on Amazon's part would help them.