Mr. Bissinger wrote the e-book for Byliner.com, one of a number of fledgling companies trying to make a go of it by publishing long-form works — not as long as a traditional book, but longer than most magazine articles — for digital readers. Mr. Bissinger thought the e-book, priced at $2.99, would be a great way to pay tribute to the relationship while also helping Mr. Miles, by giving him a third of the proceeds.
But the plan hit a pothole after Apple, which had been looking to get into shorter works in a digital format, decided to include e-books in a promotion that it does with Starbucks. It selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book. (Mr. Bissinger said he still received a royalty of $1.50 for each copy sold.)
Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for “After Friday Night Lights” to exactly zero. Byliner withdrew the book from Amazon’s shelves, saying it did so to “protect our authors’ interest.”
Mr. Bissinger, who has built a franchise on journalistic excellence and rhetorical intemperance — see his Twitter account — managed to choose his words carefully when talking about how his e-book ended up as a bug on the windshield of Amazon’s relentlessness on pricing.
That may have a little something to do with the fact that he has a great big book, “Father’s Day,” being released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in just two weeks. It would be a bad time to stick his finger in the eye of a company that sells more books — including his — than any other company in the world.