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(CNN)   DOJ doubles down on anti-Apple ebook derp   (tech.fortune.cnn.com) divider line 121
    More: Stupid, Apple Inc., DOJ, e-books, cherry-picks, public comment  
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7387 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 Jul 2012 at 8:56 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-07-23 06:27:52 PM
I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.
 
2012-07-23 06:43:44 PM

RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.


Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.

I've got family that works in the publishing industry that have been increasingly infuriated with Amazon and their brazen and false claims of victimhood in this case. So I will admit to not being 100% unbiased on the issue.
 
2012-07-23 06:45:21 PM

Rincewind53: RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.

Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.

I've got family that works in the publishing industry that have been increasingly infuriated with Amazon and their brazen and false claims of victimhood in this case. So I will admit to not being 100% unbiased on the issue.


Even if this is so, collusion with other economic actors for price fixing is still illegal, even if there's a much bigger actor in the field.
 
2012-07-23 06:49:12 PM

RexTalionis: Rincewind53: RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.

Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.

I've got family that works in the publishing industry that have been increasingly infuriated with Amazon and their brazen and false claims of victimhood in this case. So I will admit to not being 100% unbiased on the issue.

Even if this is so, collusion with other economic actors for price fixing is still illegal, even if there's a much bigger actor in the field.


I mean, I read the original indictment, there were some pretty damning bits of evidence in there that, if true, certainly do make it look like some sort of price fixing at the highest level. But at the same time, I can tell you that the publishers had all of their lawyers seriously going over this thing and were well aware of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and at the rate they pay those guys I'm pretty confident the agreement itself, the contract, probably doesn't violate it. But that remains to be seen.
 
2012-07-23 07:03:03 PM

RexTalionis: Hard to see how that's derp.


You forgot the key thing. Someone dared to speak against Apple.
 
2012-07-23 07:35:06 PM
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been covering Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.


This guy is probably biased somewhat.
 
2012-07-23 07:38:03 PM

Rincewind53: But at the same time, I can tell you that the publishers had all of their lawyers seriously going over this thing and were well aware of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and at the rate they pay those guys I'm pretty confident the agreement itself, the contract, probably doesn't violate it.


Every collusion indicted under the Sherman Act since the passage of the Sherman Act 100 years ago was the result of lots of highly paid lawyers. Just because a lot of expensive lawyers touched it and signed off on it doesn't mean it's legal. After all, nobody expects to get caught.
 
2012-07-23 08:49:57 PM
I honestly don't know who to root for on this one. Amazon is trying to be a monopoly in the online publishing market....and Apple is trying to be an even bigger monopoly in the infotainment market. the DOJ is simply taking bids on the sale of their ruling and everyone else is mostly ignoring the situation.
 
2012-07-23 08:59:58 PM

Weaver95: I honestly don't know who to root for on this one. Amazon is trying to be a monopoly in the online publishing market....and Apple is trying to be an even bigger monopoly in the infotainment market. the DOJ is simply taking bids on the sale of their ruling and everyone else is mostly ignoring the situation.


Agreed. Although I'd be very surprised if Apple's lawyers didn't have very well-cited opinions for each action along the way - they aren't exactly the kind of company that does stuff half-cocked.

Also, I'm really unhappy with the way Amazon has exerted monopolistic pressure in the ebook market (by selling under market value to eliminate publisher competition) over the last few years.
 
2012-07-23 09:06:59 PM

Rincewind53: Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.



Remember that thing that two wrongs don't make?
 
2012-07-23 09:06:59 PM

RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.


Done in one. Subby's an idiot. Ebooks are overpriced thanks to Steve Jobs, and being an Apple fanboi is not worth defending that.
 
2012-07-23 09:15:48 PM
I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.
 
2012-07-23 09:18:44 PM
This is AT&T's fault. Or the manufacturer. Or you're holding the device wrong.
 
2012-07-23 09:19:02 PM

ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.


So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?
 
2012-07-23 09:30:18 PM

ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.


Supply & demand. The demand for ebooks has risen, so the price has also risen. It's that simple. To think of a monopoly in e-books is silly. There is no reason for government interference.
 
2012-07-23 09:31:02 PM

Herr Flick's Revenge: So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?


Amazon is a publisher and they're making money just fine. If other publishers aren't making money, then they need to innovate. If they just can't save themselves, then maybe we don't need middle-man publishers anymore.
 
2012-07-23 09:32:26 PM
I was going to buy a copy of the Great Gatsby the other day. I go to amazon and see the ebook price at 12.99, which by itself is ridiculous for an ebook. But next to it is the paperback for 9.99. I decided the publisher doesn't deserve any of my money.
 
jvl
2012-07-23 09:34:35 PM

RexTalionis: Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.


You know there's an actual graph of prices in the linked article? And that it disproves what you just said?
 
2012-07-23 09:37:36 PM

Herr Flick's Revenge: ApatheticMonkey: I've been wondering why in general, it only costs a couple bucks more to get a physical copy of a book (sometimes even hardcover!) than the ebook version. I'm a little annoyed to know this was the reason. That was a major driver in me not ever having bought an actual ebook, despite having a dedicated ebook reader. (I've been downloading from the local library.) If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear, I have almost zero incentive to bother buying a digital copy. Yes, I can carry dozens of books with me with the ereader, but honestly, I'm only reading one at a time.

So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?


Amazon only have a "monopoly" because lots of people choose to buy from them. With e-books the barriers to entry are very small, I could register a domain name, pay for hosting and have an e-book I wrote available within a few hours for $30.

High barriers to entry for competition is a key element in a true monopoly, and that just doesn't exist here. You can buy the same book from Amazon, B+N, supermarkets or your local bookstore. Did Amazon ever demand publishers did not sell e-books through their competitors? I sell on amazon (not books) and they've never asked me not to sell through anyone else.
 
2012-07-23 09:40:44 PM
Apple trying to set a price point much higher than it should be... say it ain't so...
 
2012-07-23 09:42:51 PM

jvl: RexTalionis: Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

You know there's an actual graph of prices in the linked article? And that it disproves what you just said?


"Weighted by units sold"

The price of mainstream, big selling, e-book titles could have doubled but a growth in free or cheap titles at the amateur end would keep the "average" price down.

Not to mention it is a chart with no source quoted, making it difficult to check the raw data.
 
2012-07-23 09:48:01 PM

Herr Flick's Revenge: So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?


The publishers were making the same amount of money. Amazon bought on wholesale, paying wholesale prices. They then chose to cut their profit margin on the ebooks. (Yes, there were some things here and there sold "below cost", but most of them still made money for Amazon.) The problem was that Apple couldn't compete with that, since it wouldn't let them make their traditional 30% of each selling price, and the publishers (much like the movie and music industries) didn't like the fact that their product was being "undervalued". (Read: they were afraid that low e-book prices would start cutting into the sales of the physical copies.) Hence, Apple proposed the agency model, which the publishers jumped on because they could set their own price, and then included the MFN clause to ensure that Amazon couldn't compete on price.
 
2012-07-23 09:48:21 PM

Herr Flick's Revenge: So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?


So Apple is selflessly throwing themselves on the DOJ grenade because they care so much about publishers?
 
2012-07-23 09:49:53 PM

MugzyBrown:

Supply & demand. The demand for ebooks has risen, so the price has also risen. It's that simple. To think of a monopoly in e-books is silly. There is no reason for government interference.


therynoshorn.com

E-books aren't a scarce resource with a limited supply. The variable cost of an e-book is a tiny, tiny fraction of a penny, based on Amazon's web services pricing of less than a cent per GB for storing and transmitting that data on their servers. For a 3G Kindle, it might cost a tad more because they have to pay Sprint or AT&T for the mobile data bandwidth, but they probably have a good deal set up where they are paying pennies per book. E-books are as pretty close to infinite supply as you can get, so demand should do have no effect on the pricing at all in the demand curve. If anything, pricing them lower should allow you to sell more copies.
 
2012-07-23 09:51:44 PM

ApatheticMonkey: If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear


... er if I can find a copy with no DRM that won't just disappear. Sure that's what you meant.
 
2012-07-23 09:55:38 PM

Swoop1809: I was going to buy a copy of the Great Gatsby the other day. I go to amazon and see the ebook price at 12.99, which by itself is ridiculous for an ebook. But next to it is the paperback for 9.99. I decided the publisher doesn't deserve any of my money.


It's in the public domain in most of the world and free to download e.g. http://gutenberg.net.au/plusfifty-a-m.html#fitzgerald
 
2012-07-23 10:13:42 PM

Weaver95: I honestly don't know who to root for on this one. Amazon is trying to be a monopoly in the online publishing market....and Apple is trying to be an even bigger monopoly in the infotainment market. the DOJ is simply taking bids on the sale of their ruling and everyone else is mostly ignoring the situation.


No, Amazon is being more like Valve with Steam. They are trying to keep prices low, have deals to sell everyone's stuff, and drive volume as high as possible. Low prices and high volume is the ideal solution, especially when distribution/production costs almost nothing. While Amazon might be a big player - look at hoe small the barrier to entry is in the market (movies are following this path). Of course Amazon is huge - they were a huge bookseller before eBooks, they pushed the format harder than anyone, and even developed their own readers to reinforce it. And even that colossal effort barely hindered B&N, Apple, Sony, Kobo, and even the dozens of free stores like Guttenberg. All of those new players expand the market.
Then Apple enters and uses their iPad dominance to fix prices for the entire sector - costing the consumer billions. I mean just think of basic economic theory. If a new player enters the market, how on earth do market prices INCREASE 50%? Competition LOWERS prices unless there is collusion.
 
2012-07-23 10:17:41 PM

Rincewind53:
Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.


The only reason Amazon had a 90% share in the first place is because they saw the future and shaped/formed the market segment in the first place.

Then in typical apple fashion, they get to the game late and try to catch up by making shady deals (and somehow manage to spin it so they look like the good guy in all of it)
 
2012-07-23 10:24:10 PM

jvl: RexTalionis: Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

You know there's an actual graph of prices in the linked article? And that it disproves what you just said?


No, the author of the article just posted a really misleading graphic.

The DoJ v. Apple case is about the retail prices of newly released eBooks (i.e. new releases). The chart is a chart of the average eBook price weighted by sales - which is NOT the same as the average eBook price of newly released eBooks. That chart also includes the cheap books, the free and public domain books, in addition the numbers for the average price of the newly released eBooks, which is the ONLY relevant number in this case.

C'mon. That's like 3rd grade reading comprehension right there.
 
2012-07-23 10:31:46 PM

Herr Flick's Revenge: So its far better for Amazon to have a monopoly, drive ebook prices down so publishers make nothing so they can make money on kindles?


I'm no so much worried about publishers as I am authors. Like Honest Bender said, the market structure has begun to shift in such a way that their old business model may not be profitable anymore, then they need to innovate to make it work.



MugzyBrown:

Supply & demand. The demand for ebooks has risen, so the price has also risen. It's that simple. To think of a monopoly in e-books is silly. There is no reason for government interference.


You do realize that the supply curve in this case is practically infinitely elastic, right? That tends to affect pricing in a different way than you're thinking.

divx88: ApatheticMonkey: If it only costs me a little more to get a physical copy that I know won't suddenly disappear

... er if I can find a copy with no DRM that won't just disappear. Sure that's what you meant.


I like physical books; They look good on the shelf. Also, I'm not sure what a hardcover with DRM would look like.

My point is, if Kobo goes under, any books I have with them, I most likely won't have access to. If my Kobo breaks, and I want to get a Kindle, I won't have access to any of my epubs, because the Kindle can't read them. If I buy a hard copy, I'm good as long as I take care of my stuff. (And no, I'm not reading on a tablet.)
 
2012-07-23 10:36:32 PM

ApatheticMonkey: I like physical books; They look good on the shelf. Also, I'm not sure what a hardcover with DRM would look like.


All the pages are printed with a scrambled code that looks like a massive, complex QR barcode.

The pages are unique and can only be unscrambled by a unique key that can be installed into only one person's head mounted display.

Once the unique key is installed on reader's head mounted display, the head mounted display replaces the scrambled code with text via augmented reality.

Tada - DRM'ed printed hardcover books.
 
2012-07-23 10:40:19 PM

Rincewind53: RexTalionis: I don't see how it's derp. The allegations of the DoJ, if true, is a serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Just to recap what the allegations are:

Apple made a deal with 6 major publishers to fix ebook prices at a certain level on the Apple Store. Since the publishers, once having set the ebook prices with Apple on Apple's store, cannot undercut Apple anywhere else (i.e. at the B&N store, Kobo Store, Sony Store, and most importantly, the Amazon Store), the prices for ebooks rose everywhere.

Remember when ebooks were $9.99 for most books? Remember how prices everywhere suddenly jumped to $14.99 overnight for new books? Yeah, that was because of Apple.

Hard to see how that's derp.

Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.

I've got family that works in the publishing industry that have been increasingly infuriated with Amazon and their brazen and false claims of victimhood in this case. So I will admit to not being 100% unbiased on the issue.


price fixing and collusion are quite f*cking illegal. there is no affirmative self defense for anti trust violations.
 
2012-07-23 10:52:24 PM

Flint Ironstag:

High barriers to entry for competition is a key element in a true monopoly, and that just doesn't exist here. You can buy the same book from Amazon, B+N, supermarkets or your local bookstore. Did Amazon ever demand publishers did not sell e-books through their competitors? I sell on amazon (not books) and they've never asked me not to sell through anyone else.


Also, Amazon makes it very easy to load a standard .PDF onto a kindle, so customers can even read your self-published ebook on their Amazon ereader.

Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Amazon allows people to release their privately published books in the Kindle's native .mobi format without charge.

That said, Apple's scheme withe the publishers is pretty blatant price fixing. If the DOJ fails to act and prices stay high or go higher, most "customers" are probably just going to pirate ebooks. Then NO money is made.

As it stands now, I would have ZERO reservations against pirating old books like The Great Gatsby if more is charged than, say, $0.99. And only that much if some effort had been put in to make sure there's proper layout, cover art, etc. That book was written in the freaking 1920's for christ's sake. Fitzgerald has died and rotted in the ground a long time ago-- it's farking ridiculous that the book is still under copyright almost a century after it was written.
 
2012-07-23 10:53:16 PM

Riche: As it stands now, I would have ZERO reservations against pirating old books like The Great Gatsby if more is charged than, say, $0.99. And only that much if some effort had been put in to make sure there's proper layout, cover art, etc. That book was written in the freaking 1920's for christ's sake. Fitzgerald has died and rotted in the ground a long time ago-- it's farking ridiculous that the book is still under copyright almost a century after it was written.


How can you pirate something that's in the public domain?
 
2012-07-23 10:54:10 PM

idsfa: Rincewind53: Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.


Remember that thing that two wrongs don't make?


An airplane?
 
2012-07-23 11:06:43 PM

RexTalionis: ApatheticMonkey: I like physical books; They look good on the shelf. Also, I'm not sure what a hardcover with DRM would look like.

All the pages are printed with a scrambled code that looks like a massive, complex QR barcode.

The pages are unique and can only be unscrambled by a unique key that can be installed into only one person's head mounted display.

Once the unique key is installed on reader's head mounted display, the head mounted display replaces the scrambled code with text via augmented reality.

Tada - DRM'ed printed hardcover books.


Actually, a "D"RM hardback book would be a book kept in a locked away area in a special library. To read "your" book, you have to show ID to the librarian and, if your name is on the authorized list, then you are allowed to read the book-- but only in a specific locked room. No taking the book with you when you leave, of ourselves.
 
2012-07-23 11:07:32 PM
Amazon "Oh you want to self-publish an ebook? Sweet, we'll gladly provide the means for you to do so" Apple "uh wha, self-publish? wha?". Yeah, Amazon is in the lead here.
 
2012-07-23 11:12:06 PM

Rincewind53: But at the same time, I can tell you that the publishers had all of their lawyers seriously going over this thing and were well aware of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, and at the rate they pay those guys I'm pretty confident the agreement itself, the contract, probably doesn't violate it. But that remains to be seen.



That's a baseless assumption. Corporate attorneys advise their corporate clients of the risks posed by management decisions. They may tell them that an idea is a potentially serious violation of a law and if uncovered the company could face X amount in fines, penalties, etc. Often times they are asked to try to add a veneer of legality to a shady scenario or try some other creative legal solution in order to support a course of action. Management wants something and corporate lawyers are tasked with finding a way to get them there while telling management what risks or threats lie along the way. Doesn't mean a course of action is particularly legal.

In this case their attorneys probably tried to create some legal camouflage to make the collusion between Publisher's and Apple appear to be something other than collusion.
 
2012-07-23 11:13:01 PM

RexTalionis:

How can you pirate something that's in the public domain?


Uhhh.... With my time machine, of course!

Yeah, that's it.

-------------

Actually, if Amazon is charging $14.99 for a DRM'ed ebook copy of something in the public domain, and you were to download a cracked copy for free off of BitTorrent, is that pirating?


/evil laugh
 
2012-07-23 11:16:19 PM

Rincewind53: Well, mainly because Amazon, who is the main pusher of this entire thing (they've been working directly with the DOJ and went to them in a snit after the whole deal occured) had a 90% or so market share on e-books at the time of the deal. So a lot of people are, I think quite legitimately, asking why is it that the companies that tried to work out some deal to survive Amazon's monopolistic power are the ones that the DOJ is going after.


Ummm having market share is not a monopoly if items are available elsewhere, that is consumer choice, apple conspired with book publishers to either withhold books from amazon or to have set prices amazon couldnt discount as a promo to sell their kindle, its the kind of shiat apple is doing that microsoft used to get shiat on by apple people. Its why they are now making a smaller device, should amazon be able to sue them now since apple said a few years ago they wouldnt make a smaller tablet but now are after seeing the kindle?

Apple has pissed off a lot of people by suing makers of devices instead of just making a better device, they know samsung was catching them and with the skyrocket has passed them so they had to slow down that truck rolling over them by suing over the shape of a square.
 
2012-07-23 11:16:38 PM

RexTalionis: ApatheticMonkey: I like physical books; They look good on the shelf. Also, I'm not sure what a hardcover with DRM would look like.

All the pages are printed with a scrambled code that looks like a massive, complex QR barcode.

The pages are unique and can only be unscrambled by a unique key that can be installed into only one person's head mounted display.


i.imgur.com
No problemo.
 
2012-07-23 11:26:23 PM
Only a Penn State level cover-up could bring Apple down. Maybe.
 
2012-07-23 11:30:56 PM
The important thing to remember is that there are books that, because of Apple, can be sold as E-Books. Medical Textbooks (that Amazon would have only carried at $9.95) that retail for hundreds, for example.
 
TKM
2012-07-23 11:34:42 PM
Is this the same DOJ doing such a bang up job sending novelty firearms to our neighbors to the south?
 
2012-07-23 11:44:37 PM
For all of the whining about high ebook prices, it's funny how nobody mentioned that the high prices are due to the publishers who really control the content, not the distribution network.

Amazon lets you self-publish very easily, and they give the author a HUGE cut of the price - about 75% of the sale. Even selling an ebook for $4 means you get almost as much profit per copy sold ($3) as a successful author usually makes off of a $25 hardback.

Most publishers will lose interest in you if they can't sell 20,000 copies of a book. "Only" selling half that - 10,000 copies - would easily make writing a profitable business for a lot of new authors.

It used to be that a new author would hope for a huge initial print run and a lot of sales over a few months (before the books were yanked off of the shelves and remaindered). Now, they can put out a book, make a moderate amount of money on a very low initial sales burst, and keep making money off of the same books indefinitely. "Out of print" should be a thing of the past...

I've known a lot of authors who put out six or seven novels before they got popular - and by the time they hit it big, you couldn't get their original stuff at all. They always had to wait for years for reprints (that had to fit in the publisher's PR schedule), while people could not get any of those original books.

This is what the publishers are mad about, not the "collusion." The big publishing houses are on the verge of being useless except as publicity departments - and a lot of them aren't even good at that.

There's a huge untapped market for old books that are sill in copyright, but are basically unavailable. There are literally thousands of old science fiction novels out there that you can't get without extensive searches - someone could make a killing by rounding up the reprint rights and selling them for $2 or $3 each (and the authors would make more money off the ebook "reprints" than the old books used to fetch at retail prices).

One last thing: a few publishers are going a different route. Baen Books, for example, makes a lot of their line available for FREE online in electronic versions - they make money off of the paperback and hardcover sales, and use the ebooks for publicity. I think that's going to change in the near future...
 
jgi
2012-07-23 11:48:25 PM
Without a doubt, ebooks must drop in price and DRM must be removed. Otherwise, you're foolish to not pirate. Paying $10+ for a digital copy of a book is absurd. Doubly so when it locks you in to a specific vendor's ecosystem. I can understand wanting to financially support an author you love; if you want to do that, go to the author's website and donate to them, buy whatever they're selling, buy a physical copy of their book and donate it to a library. But look, an ebook takes very little to put together and very little for distribution. We're post-scarcity here. Ebooks are infinite. Publishers are trying to build terminators into library-issued ebooks so they can only be "loaned" so many times before they disappear in an effort to mimic a physical book deteriorating over time. That is ridiculous. It is an attempt to protect profits, an attempt to maintain exponential growth that shareholders demand, and it will be the death of traditional publishers.

Sorry, there is no more blood in this turnip. I'm not paying these prices. Most people in this country are broke. You expect us to see the people at top grabbing monster profits at any cost, often times operating in legal grey areas or specifically against the law, and then shaming people at the bottom for pirating? No, I'm going to keep my money.
 
2012-07-24 12:17:38 AM

cirby: "Out of print" should be a thing of the past...


And on a related note there are now printing presses that use digital files only and can print 100 books as profitably as 10,000. Indeed, they can print off fewer than 100 just as easily. Meaning, that a smart publisher could offer up actual physical books on a per order basis. And a physical book being out of print would be left on the ash heap of history.
 
2012-07-24 12:18:28 AM
Apple has a right to set their terms. No publisher is forced to sell through Apple. Publishers recognize that Apple's platform is where profit lies, and Apple is forcing competitors to compete on something other than price, which they can't. There is no collusion. Apple simply kicked everyone's butt.

I don't buy e-books. They're too expensive. I have yet to regret not having an e-copy of some book.
 
2012-07-24 12:19:57 AM
The sad part is that they're just shooting themselves in the foot with the e-books price gouging. The simple fact of the matter is people aren't reading as much as they used to, particularly fiction. Yes, there's still the outlier Fifty Shades of Grey/Twilight/Dragon Tattoo flavor of the month commercial trilogy, but by and large books aren't as important to people's lives as they used to be. Especially for adults, they're not a workplace water cooler topic the way the latest the latest John le Carre or Saul Bellow novel was. Authors aren't part of the cultural zeitgeist anymore. You don't see Jonathon Franzen or Phillip Roth doing talk shows the way Norman Mailer used to appear on Johnny Carson or John Cheever and John Updike would Dick Cavett.

Here the publishing and book industry has been blessed with this manna from heaven. A way to make books more accessible and relevant than ever ... and instead they price themselves out of the public's entertainment dollar. The publishers and distributors don't seem to grasp they aren't competing against each other, they're competing against every alternative for a customers finite amount of money and time. Absolutely no reason why Barnes and Noble or Amazon.com shouldn't have something the equivalent of Steam's Summer Sale promotion where people are allowed to stock up on eBooks 75% or 80% of cover price just to make books relevant and on the tip of people's tongues again. I neurotically check Amazon's ebook deal of the day daily, and that's just for the sale of one book.
 
2012-07-24 12:22:09 AM

Honest Bender: If they just can't save themselves, then maybe we don't need middle-man publishers anymore.


What do they actually, you know, do these days? I mean, promotion, fine, and also editing, but there are other ways to do both. Even more than record companies, it seems to me that publishers are in a business that has no future. They provide no essential services and the artists they depend on don't really need them.
 
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