As authorities investigate possible ebook price fixing by Apple and major booksellers, smaller publishing operations are also dealing with the stiff competition between Apple and ebook powerhouse Amazon. To his dismay, author Buzz Bissinger discovered this when a newly-published title, "After Friday Night Lights," ended up being pulled from Amazon by his publisher due to pricing issues.
"I thought it was some kind of technical difficulty," Bissinger told The New York Times. Instead, the $2.99 ebook had been selected by Apple as a Pick of the Week, which allowed customers to get it free with a code. But while Bissinger still received royalties, Amazon's price bot found the temporary sale and repriced its version of the book to $0.00. After that, Byliner, the publisher, removed it from the store, citing a need to "protect our authors’ interests." Byliner co-founder Mark Bryant admits his company was warned the price might drop but "hoped that wouldn’t happen."
The pricing chain reaction between the three companies is a result of many factors, including a fast-moving digital sales world and a highly competitive ebook market for both publishers and sellers. For Bissinger, however, it means his book was unavailable in a major market near the beginning of its launch. "Amazon is a crucial outlet for any author, and when you lose them, it’s terrifying," he said.