Amazon Locks Up James Bond For A Decade

That image from Casino Royale illustrates what Amazon has just done: Gone all-in on book publishing.

Amazon Publishing to Publish James Bond Backlist, Inc. and Ian Fleming Publications Ltd today announced that Amazon Publishing has acquired a ten-year license for North American rights to the entire list of James Bond books by Ian Fleming in print and ebook.

That is what business calls Making A Statement. It comes just six days after the Department of Justice eBook anti-trust announcement.


1) How long was Amazon working on this?

2) Did it take last week’s DoJ announcement to tip the Fleming Estate towards Amazon?

3) Will Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers really refuse to stock James Bond in print because Amazon is the publisher?

4) Will Amazon sell the eBooks exclusively or will they also sell them through Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others?

5) Would those others allow Amazon to sell them?

6) Does Amazon care if they will or won’t? There are Kindle apps for iOS and Android, for Windows and OS X, and there’s the Kindle Cloud Reader too!

7) Will anyone care if ePub editions aren’t available? Download the Kindle app — it’s free!

8) If this doesn’t scare the living hell out of the Big Six, what will?

9) And now that Amazon has shown it will do this, what will it do next?

10) The James Bond eBooks were priced at $9.99. What will Amazon price them at? That price will also mean something. See this prior post.

Bond says:

Hey, Big Six: Wake up or say goodbye.


  1. George17 April, 2012

    Didn’t I envision Bezos as a Bond villain in a comment the other day? Score! 😉

    It all plays into Bezos’ attempts to recover the rockets used in the Apollo mission. He wants to use them to launch his own satellite into orbit which will carry a powerful laser to destroy any other ereading device but the Kindle. It all makes perfect sense!

  2. burger flipper17 April, 2012

    I strongly suspect I know the answer to #4

    1. fjtorres17 April, 2012

      A true Bond Villain would offer them to the competition…
      …and let them decline to carry them.

    2. Mike Cane17 April, 2012

      Last year Amazon got the rights to 35 Ed McBain 87th Pct titles. Not one of those is for sale at the Nook Store. I wonder if Amazon ever offered them and if B&N would accept them if offered. And now we have this!

      1. fjtorres17 April, 2012

        They’re putting all that extra Agency Model income to good use before it dries up, no?

  3. flyingtoastr17 April, 2012

    #7: I care. So long as Amazon continues to use their proprietary format I refuse to spend a dime in their ebook store.

    Keep customers by having a compelling product, not by locking them into your system alone.

    1. Nate Hoffelder17 April, 2012

      But it’s Okay for B&N and Apple to use their proprietary DRM, and lock you in that way?

      1. Sturmund Drang17 April, 2012

        That’s what I thought too when I first read flyingtoastr’s comment. But, what (s)he said doesn’t preclude hir from boycotting B&N and Apple for the same reason.

      2. Logan Kennelly17 April, 2012

        You make an excellent point, Nate, but, at least in the case of B&N, a) it’s less proprietary in that it is managed by a third-party and licensed to all, and b) the underlying format (once you get past the easily-removed encryption) is “better” and more transparent.

        Obviously you know this, but there is value in the ability to easily convert content into the desired format with almost no effort.

        The reality is that if Amazon has the exclusive, some large percentage of the potential customers that are not on Amazon will find *ahem* other means.

      3. flyingtoastr18 April, 2012

        I don’t buy any ebooks from Apple, and ( as I keep pointing out) not only is the BN DRM more permissive than pretty much every other one, it can be unlocked by ADE with the most recent beta update.

        Granted if I had my way there would be no such thing as DRM. But if we have to live with it, I’ll take the versions of Adobe EPUB and deal with it any day over Amazon.

        1. Ingo Lembcke18 April, 2012

          All major DRM systems can be removed. Apple is the only one who updates it. An Update-Change of Adobe DRM would break too much hardware, and while Amazon controls more or less their hard- and software, they cannot change it without updating all Kindles and Software which I do not know if it would be practical.
          While I do not know if it is legal to remove DRM where you live, it is still possible and with calibre mobi/kindle can be converted to epub.
          But I also think, that Pottermore is a good example how books without DRM can be sold.

          1. Tyler18 April, 2012

            I am with flyingtoaster. I buy from Barnes and Noble and Kobo and a few other places like Baen books but will not buy from Apple or Amazon at all.

      4. Peter18 April, 2012

        Apple, no, Barnes and Noble, yes.

        The proprietary DRM is irritating, but acceptable because Barnes and Noble gives you legal work arounds for both types of lock-in.

        You aren’t required to own a nook to read read Barnes and Noble e-books because they have third party apps. Apple fails on this front.

        And you aren’t required to own Barnes and Noble e-books to use a nook (e-ink) because it supports adobe epub. Amazon fails on this front- at least for e-ink products.

        It’s not a perfect solution, but the fact that the company did these two things- at their own expense- and are known to permit DRM free purchases when the publisher allows it makes me believe that they would support a more open solution if they could get the rest of the industry on board.

        For books, at least- they don’t seem to have that same attitude toward apps. Perhaps because books have a sacred, free speechy vibe to them and apps are just apps.

  4. Cosay Nold17 April, 2012

    In the case of B&N, where I work part-time, what I could see happening is that we won’t stock it, but will order it if asked. That is what we were doing when the whole Watchmen thing happened.

  5. Format C:18 April, 2012

    11) Will the Kindle edition be better than the multi-format, enriched, well edited with good typesetting pirate package which has been around in torrents for the last six years?

    12) Will it compete on something more concrete than the “piracy is bad” moral ground, being Fleming dead for 48 years now?

  6. Richard Adin18 April, 2012

    Let’s see. All those who have been complaining about the price-fixing by the Big 6 and how it was anticompetitive and violated antitrust don’t seem to mind that Amazon’s exclusive deals for the Ian Fleming and Ed McBain books, among other exclusive deals, are anticompetitive. In fact, I find it interesting that instead of bemoaning Amazon’s locking up of these books, they are already jumping on B&N and other Amazon wannabe competitors for likely being unwilling to help fund Amazon’s growth by stocking the books in their stores. That they find anticonsumer and anticompetitive!

    Will these folk finally admit that they are Amazon lovers regardless of what Amazon does? I’m simply waiting now for the Amazon crew to bend over to offer Bezos an easier target.

    A 10-year deal and not a single complaint that Amazon is anticompetitive, anticonsumer, anti anything. I wonder if Amazon will sell the books for $2.99 or $12.99 now that it has no competition.

    1. Nate Hoffelder18 April, 2012

      By your measure, each author’s exclusive deal with the publisher is also anti-competitive. Let’s sue the bastards.

      1. Tyler18 April, 2012

        They are not anti-consumer. They are all for selling to the consumer. They are like WalMart in that regard. Give the consumer a low price and sell lots of them. They are just anti-competitive.

        1. Nate Hoffelder18 April, 2012

          Being better at competing does not make someone anti-competitive.

          1. fjtorres18 April, 2012

            …merely Hyper-competitive.
            Which isn’t illegal, immoral, nor unethical though it is annoying to the roadkill it leaves behind.

          2. Tyler18 April, 2012

            You already know the answer to what you wrote Nate. It has been discussed on her ad nauseum about Amazon’s anti-competitive ways.

      2. Peter18 April, 2012

        “Let’s sue the bastards.”

        We already are 🙂

  7. Fbone18 April, 2012

    His books will hit public domain in Canada in 2 years? That may have contributed to North American publishers declining to purchase the rights.


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