Friday, April 13, 2012

Good News on the eBook Front


If you read electronic books, there may be some good news on the horizon. Last Wednesday the Federal Government filed a law suit against Apple Computer and five book publishers.

Here is some historical perspective for you...remember way back, when you first bought your Kindle and you were all excited because Amazon sold eBooks for only $9.99... Remember?

As I understand it, Amazon didn't care if it lost money selling eBooks at $9.99 as long as people were buying its eReader, the Kindle.

Then all of a sudden the electronic book world was tipped upside down when Amazon began charging $14.99 for eBooks. Most of us had no idea what caused the price increase. At the time people blamed Amazon...but now it appears Amazon wasn't the culprit at all. According to the US Justice Department the real bad guys were the publishing companies lead by the late Steve Jobs of Apple Computer.

Read this from the Wall Street Journal:

In a civil antitrust lawsuit, the Justice Department alleged that CEOs of the publishing companies met regularly in private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants to discuss how to respond to steep discounting of their e-books by Amazon.com Inc., a practice they disliked. The executives also called and emailed each other to craft a solution to what one of them called "the wretched $9.99 price point," the suit said. The five publishers and Apple hatched an arrangement that lifted the price of many best-selling e-books to $12.99 or $14.99, according to the suit. The publishers then banded together to impose that model on Amazon, the government alleged.

Of course, everyone is innocent until proven guilty...but three of the accused publishing companies have already agreed to settled with the Justice Department...hmmmmm, I wonder why???

In typical Apple fashion the computer giant denies the allegations and has decided to fight the Feds....good luck with that one.

At the time of the alleged conspiracy Amazon dominated the eBook and eReader market (Kindle). As you might have expected , when Amazon was forced to abandon the discounted $9.99 price, for whatever reason, it helped Apple's new iBookstore break into the electronic book market and gave the publishers a higher profit... hmmmmm?! Interesting.

The good thing for eBook readers consumers is that experts believe this law suit will result in a decrease in the price of eBooks.

1 comment:

kad barma said...

This case is absolutely not what it seems. Apple does not allow writers or their publishers to set their own prices for things, and this is far more pernicious a competitive issue than the price of any particular single eBook. People who are short-sighted enough to want to back Apple in this are in fact backing a distribution model that starves authors in favor of granting control of the book market to Apple. I'm not sure what the right answer might be, but I'm quite sure the answer is not denying writers a fair price for their work.