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Book Related Banter > US sues Apple and publishers over e-book prices

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message 1: by Char (new)

Char Wouldn't that be great? It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.

message 2: by Ralph (new)

Ralph (sunwriter) | 327 comments Mod
It's about time. They've already been brought to court in multiple countries for breaking anti-trust laws. It's about time the US got off their asses and brought up charges as well.

message 3: by JK (new)

JK (eimajtl) This is excellent news!!

message 4: by Hitandmiss (new)

Hitandmiss | 12 comments This is great! now if only we could get Tax breaks on Ebooks like we have on normal books!

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Three of the publishers have settled with the DOJ:

From what I gather, once this is approved then ebooks from those three publishers can have their prices set by the seller.

I read earlier that MacMillan isn't going to settle, and will pursue the matter in court.

message 6: by Ben (new)

Ben Guilfoy | 42 comments Excellent. I'll be very intrigued to see how this plays out!

message 7: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Here's another point of view, from Smashwords:

message 8: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 605 comments I'll have to admit agency pricing drove down my average book price. I never buy them. These days, most of my books are the free, $0.99, and $2.99 books from Amazon.

Before agency pricing, I was often paying $4.99.

Not any more. :)

message 9: by Randy (new)

Randy Harmelink | 605 comments Just looked over my expense records...

From 1984-2003, I averaged $150-$300 per year on paperbacks (mostly used).

Very little in 2004-2006 (had started up with NetFlix).

In 2007-2009 (mostly 2007), when I just had Kindle for the PC, I spent about $700 on about 200 eBooks. Mostly getting eBook copies of my favorite paperbacks, so I didn't have to move many paperbacks from Minnesota to Arizona.

Few purchases in 2008-2010. Mostly because agency pricing had caused FictionWise (my source of eBooks) to become quite expensive.

In 2011-2012, when I added a hand-held Kindle, I've spent about $125 on over 1000 eBooks. Mostly because I switched to Amazon as my eBook source, and their "Indy" authors.

message 10: by Julie (new)

Julie Li (juubee) | 30 comments Omg, I hope they can fix this. It's ridiculous having to pay so much for a freaking ebook version.

I've always wished where they'd include an ebook version with the hardcover/paperback purchase. Like how some movies let you have a digital copy and stuff. I doubt that'll happen, but it's wishful thinking.

For now, it'd be nice to have ebooks at lower prices. I read so damn much that it gets costly sometimes - buying all those books.

message 11: by Brandon (last edited Apr 12, 2012 02:59PM) (new)

Brandon | 82 comments I certainly won't complain if ebooks prices drop 20-30%. I spend a lot on ebooks and so does the rest of my family so any savings is appreciated and allows us to explore new authors a bit more.

I do wish the price of older books would come down though. I really dislike paying 9.99 or more for a ebook that is several years old or is out in paperback (Magicians your a prime exampe).

message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael Smith (MikeS_2011) | 8 comments Hopefully the outcome is a reduction on the average cost. It is a little ridiculous to pay the same amount for something that costs them next to nothing to produce versus an actual printed book that has production and distribution costs associated with it.

message 13: by Betsy (new)

Betsy On the other hand, I would hate to see brick and mortar bookstores disappear. I don't think that will happen, but I know bookstores, especially the small local ones operate on very small margins.

message 14: by Brandon (last edited Apr 13, 2012 08:40AM) (new)

Brandon | 82 comments I certainly do not want the death of brick and mortar stores as it is so much easier to browse books at a physical location vs. online especially for new releases.

That said it doesn't make a lot of sense to me for publishers to use the wholesale model on physical goods but not on ebooks. Negotiate a price and if the merchant wants to take a loss that is there business.

I dont see manufactors throwing a fit when a grocery store or best buy has a product on sale below cost. Either way the manufacturer gets the price they set with the merchant.

message 15: by Benjamin (new)

Benjamin (Ben21) Apple and Penguin are both claiming the allegations are false (which we all know is a load of crap).

message 16: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 82 comments @Betsy
Thanks for posting the smashwords link, it is nice to see another perspective.

One thing I think smashworss fails to point out is that they are not in the same situation as the publishers named in the suit. They give self published authors a great deal of control and the publishers they work with are small independent publishers who like pricing flexibility in order to promote sales.

The major publishers are not going to allow authors to set their books price as they choose. Revenue splits also are very different. The article points out that smashwords authors would have to increase the msrp of their books significantly to bring in the same revenue. However the example used is based on self publishing revenue rates which are not the same as what authors who sign with a major publishing house where authors shares are much lower.

Personally I wonder if there is some other model than either the whole sale or the current agency model that may be a better compromise.

It also does not appear that the DOJ is going to outlaw the agency model but instead prevent collusion to force it on a retailer.

Of course terminating the agency model for the major publishers couls make it much harder for the smaller publishers to get merchants to agree to an agency model.

message 17: by Jason (last edited Apr 13, 2012 01:38PM) (new)

Jason (IndyFan) I would love to see these pricing restictions removed. Like paper books, retailers should be able to buy "copies" of eBooks for an agreed-upon price, and then sell them however they choose. If they want to sell every bestseller for $1.99 and make up for it by selling expensive Widgets at the same time, great!

Though I like things on the cheap, I can't genuinely balk at buying an eBook for half the price of the print version when I know the cost of books has as much to do with ROI for the author's and publisher's time and energy rather than simply the materials used to make it.

What I DON'T want to see is a slew of mediocre authors being rewarded with a great living, flooding the market with trash because retailers must sell it for the same minimum price as the cream of the crop.

message 18: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 82 comments @Scott
I agree whole heartedly, so many of the $0.99-$2.99 priced books are of substandard quality. The publishers provide a filter and ensure decent formating proofing etc.... if course some junk slips through the filter but its a lot better that no quality control.

message 19: by Jason (new)

Jason (IndyFan) Scott, you are absolutely right. I don't have an issue buying and reading mediocre if it is reflected in the price. I don't wanna pay for filet minon when a burger will do just fine. I would prefer the market to reflect competitive pricing. Fixing minimum prices is rediculous, kills competition, and is bad for everyone. The market should be the judge.

message 20: by Mirvan (new)

Mirvan  Ereon (mirvanereon) | 30 comments wow cool news!

message 21: by Betsy (last edited Apr 14, 2012 06:38PM) (new)

Betsy Here's another anti-DOJ, anti-Amazon article, from tech writer Mike Elgan:

Interesting that he says Amazon is the closed platform while Apple is "open"! Apple is a notoriously closed platform. And, of course, iPads are able to display Kindle formatted books because Amazon put out Kindle apps for every platform. Apple does not publish apps for Android to allow us to read iPad formatted books.

Elgan and the publishers are characterizing this as a battle between Apple and Amazon, but they are not taking into consideration the reader/consumer. That's who the DOJ represents, not Amazon.

message 22: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 355 comments ahh yes and the cultofmac web address says it!

message 23: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Highlights of the DOJ case against Apple, etc.:

message 24: by Betsy (last edited Apr 15, 2012 10:29PM) (new)

Betsy This has become a really big deal in the news.

I wouldn't be surprised if the whole book publishing & retailing system is eventually revised. I think all of the parties involved will have to rethink their parts. No one is blameless, not Amazon, not Apple, not the publishers, or the authors. Even we consumers. Yes, it's nice to be able to buy a book for a dollar or two, but we need to remember there are a lot of people trying to make a living in this business and if they can't the quality of the product is likely to suffer ... if it survives at all.

Doom! Doom! ;-) It's going to be very interesting to see what happens.

message 25: by Dorie (new)

Dorie (DorieAnn) Maybe it's just me, but I honestly can't see why the electronic version of a book needs to be distributed and sold differently than the paper versions. It's not up to Apple or the major publishers to "police" Amazon. And don't try to tell me they are driving prices higher out of the goodness of their hearts in order to protect consumers. They're laughing all the way to the bank.

I just wish the DOJ could also do something about the major publishers rescinding the loaning option. It's my belief that this caused a lot more illegal ebook sharing than it has prevented. Which saddens me because so many authors are being cheated out of royalties they deserve to receive. I've left some lending groups here at Goodreads because they became nothing more than file sharing groups.

message 26: by Lord Nouda (new)

Lord Nouda (Nouda) They're going to have revamp how publishing companies do business. I mean with the multitudes of books they're pushing out and the number of bestsellers they get, surely they can make a significant profit without having to raise ebook prices past that of paperbacks.

When an ebook costs dollars more than it's paperback cousin, you know there's something fishy going on.

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