Amazon shoppers may have noticed something unusual in the last week—titles published by Macmillan were unavailable from the online bookseller in a dispute over e-book prices. Macmillan (which includes publishers such as Henry Holt, Saint Martin’s; and Farrar, Straus & Giroux), wants Amazon to charge more than the typical $9.99 for e-book titles. I’m not sure who is right or wrong, but the response of some Kindlephiles is interesting. It appears that many are more interested in having books to read on their Kindle than having a Kindle for reading books. Several made statements such as, “No Macmillan books for me. Amazon made a mistake backing down. It will be up to the readers to hold fast.” Many also say that they  “will not . . . ever purchase a Kindle book that costs more than $9.99. To do so would be silly because for a greater price I could own an actual book that I could keep . . .”

It strikes me as odd that anyone would let what they choose to read be determined by the policies of the publisher as opposed to the content of the book. When the new book by Andrew Bacevich(published by Metropolitan Books, a Macmillan imprint) comes out in a few months, I plan to obtain a copy and no other title will serve as a substitute. But I am a book lover, and the content is more important to me than reading it on some sort of gadget, which doesn’t appear to be the case for some Kindlephiles.

I wouldn’t be interested in paying much money for an e-book that I don’t really own and can’t sell or loan out; but I am perplexed as to why people will shell out $259 dollars for an item and then refuse to spend money to load books into it. If the books are worth so little, then why spend so much to read them?