The Kindle is far from perfect. Its screen is small and the light-gray background doesn't provide optimal contrast for comfortable reading. Color isn't available on Kindle, so graphics are limited. The pages aren't numbered like ordinary books, which can be confusing. There's no backlighting for reading in the dark. I don't love everything about my Kindle, but up until now I've loved the $9.99 price of downloading an e-book. With the advent of the iPad, though, that's all about to end.
Amazon has just announced that it will temporarily cease selling books published for Kindle by Macmillan. This after Macmillan indicated that it wants to charge $12.99 to $14.99 for bestsellers and most hardcover releases. Apparently, Apple, the manufacturer of the iPad, will allow Macmillan and other publishers to set their own e-book prices and Apple will take 30 percent of the revenue. This type of arrangement is known as the agency model, as opposed to the merchant model (currently used by Amazon), in which the retailer purchases stock from the publisher for an agreed-upon price and then sets its own price for sale to consumers. So far, Amazon has priced its e-books at $9.99, even if that means taking a loss on sales.
Now, though, it's likely that e-book prices will rise. Amazon admitted as much in a letter posted by the Kindle team on a customer forum. The letter states that while Amazon will temporarily suspend sales of Macmillan titles, "We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book."
With the might of Apple behind it, iPad stands to make inroads on Amazon's e-book territory. The iPad offers multimedia and color, making it more appealing for certain types of books and other publications. Thus, even before the announcement of Macmillan's new policy, it appeared that Amazon was in for a competitive ride. Now, things should get really interesting, though not necessarily in a good way for consumers.