…In effect, Macmillan is trying to do exactly the same thing that many other media companies are desperate to do — from newspapers to music labels to movie companies — which is to replicate the pricing model of an analog, real-world business in digital form.
In other words, (windowing) tries to artificially reproduce the kind of scarcity (and thus pricing power) it used to have in one medium in a medium that doesn’t even know what scarcity is.
Sooner or later, that attempt will fail (among other things, iTunes appears to show that flexible pricing actually leads to lower sales).
For now, Macmillan and other publishers have managed to convince Amazon and Apple to accept the new agency model, but those sandbags aren’t going to last for long.
My take: “Macmillan, like most publishers, is attempting to protect their existing printed business long enough to readjust their production, sales and distribution model to digital media, rather than print media. Until then, their pricing model for eBooks and print media will be closely related and will walk in tandem towards a new model; at least in theory.”
“What we are seeing is a change in the business model of content distribution. There are simply more efficient and effective ways to subsidize the cost of transporting information.”
“Content is a service and a book is the conduit and container.”