“You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf” are the words chosen by John Sargent of Macmillan to exemplify the decision-making process. Is it in any way significant that he stumbles over the name, John Kabat-Zinn, who’s words these are, at the end of his talk at the 2013 TEDxTimesSquare conference? Sargent is describing Macmillan’s iBooks decision-making process which ultimately lead to the court case resulting in the chastening of Apple and “the big six” publishers (now five).

Of course Mr Sargent has an “attitude” in all of this; publishers do have to make money. But too much emphasis on the publisher as protector of the author’s interests may sound a little ironic to some. Not all e-books were then being sold at under $10 — see this from TeleRead. The decision he describes making was momentous: we did get iBooks after all. Sargent’s description of the process is of course scrupulously collusion-free.

After it all though . . . I guess a big wave snuck up on us and we wiped out.

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