Amazon goes like Apple (?), Is “Free” possible?

Jul 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: This morning's reading

Morning Reading, selected articles of interest from various publications.

Amazon Taps Its Inner Apple
Jeff Bezos is trying to do to book publishers what Steve Jobs of Apple did to the music industry. With its iPod and iTunes Store, Apple carved out a largely virgin market so fast that it was able to wrest control of the digital-music distribution system and thus dictate what the record labels could do. With Amazon jamming (its latest earnings are sky-high even as other online retailers are in a state of malaise), Bezos may sense similar opportunity, a moment when he, in true Jobs-like fashion, could colonize this growing niche for the Amazon ecosystem. Should that happen, book publishers would have more to fear than just being squeezed. Amazon could phase them out completely, treating them as the ultimate middlemen orphaned by a new technology.
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Priced to sell. Is free the future?
Malcolm Gladwell’s review of Chris Anderson’s book “Free: The Future of a Radical Price”

Anderson’s reference to people who “prefer to buy their music online” carries the faint suggestion that refraining from theft should be considered a mere preference. And then there is his insistence that the relentless downward pressure on prices represents an iron law of the digital economy. Why is it a law? Free is just another price, and prices are set by individual actors, in accordance with the aggregated particulars of marketplace power.
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