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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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7388 clicks; posted to Business » on 23 Jul 2012 at 8:56 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



121 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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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.
 
2012-07-24 12:24:09 AM

Riche: 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.


Does that make the Ferarri FXX the first DRM car?
 
2012-07-24 12:28:09 AM

Dear Jerk: Apple is forcing competitors to compete on something other than price,


such as what?
 
2012-07-24 12:35:03 AM
User experience.
 
2012-07-24 12:48:38 AM
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.

You pretty much nailed it - editing and promotion. Yes, it's easy to self-publish... but how many self-publishers are skipping the editing process entirely, or just having a friend/relative give it a "once over?" A good editor was worth their weight in gold before the self-publishing revolution... I'd value them at platinum now.

Maybe that's what will replace publishing companies. Instead of a handful of big-box publishers, we'll have a couple hundred small "labels" for ebooks. Each "label" would focus on certain types of books/certain markets, their editors will be the best at editing books in those categories, and everyone within the label works together to promote themselves and each others' work.
 
2012-07-24 01:01:50 AM

Dear Jerk: Apple is forcing competitors to compete on something other than price.


I think the point here is that Apple isn't allowed to say to competitors: "You're not allowed to compete on price".
 
2012-07-24 01:19:35 AM
annika.mu.nu
 
2012-07-24 02:14:19 AM
Apple fanboyism or DOJ derpiness aside, Apple and many others broke the law in a significant way, here. It's not more complicated than that. Saying, "A competitor has a monopoly!" does not give legal grounds to violate existing laws.
 
2012-07-24 02:40:09 AM

Dear Jerk: 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.


Pretty sure publishers appear to be making more or less the same amount. When iBook began, it was a well known fact that the book were sold at a higher price, but publisher were getting less money due to Apple's cut. But they did it anyway because they hate Amazon.
 
2012-07-24 02:56:02 AM

ApatheticMonkey: 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.)


Shrug.

I read on my Android. Works fine. Aldiko.

InmanRoshi: 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.


THIS.

Christ. My aunt got a Kindle for Christmas and asked me to look up The Firm for her (whatever). It was $12 iirc, and in her hand she had a paperback copy she had bought for a freaking dollar. She juts wanted the portability + having extra books so she only had to take one thing with her to Florida snowbird house. In the end, she decided that wasn't worth the $10 difference. Don't blame her.

I download books that I already own, because I fly through them and generally enjoy a second read (if I didn't I would've sold the physical book after the first read anyhow). Don't feel terribly guilty about it, and that plus public domain has me pretty well covered.

But if there was a summer sale promotion, goddamn, I'd probably drop $100 easy if it meant I could get 25 books at least.
 
2012-07-24 03:26:32 AM

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 ...


So what you're saying is that you've never worked in the operating levels of any industry, ever.
 
2012-07-24 05:18:12 AM
Hey Apple, what are you doing, you can't fix all those farking ebook prices
 
2012-07-24 06:56:19 AM
Wait, people are actually dumb enough to defend Apple in this?
 
2012-07-24 06:59:53 AM
i'm still waiting for school textbooks to go digital and be... at most... $5

until then, don't care about ebooks
 
2012-07-24 07:34:26 AM

MithrandirBooga: Wait, people are actually dumb enough to defend Apple in this?


But look at my chart! You see if you add in all the free, really cheap and fan fiction books by no name authors, we can see that prices didn't shoot up like people are saying.
 
2012-07-24 07:53:58 AM

GAT_00: RexTalionis: Hard to see how that's derp.

You forgot the key thing. Someone dared to speak against Apple.


^^^^
this

How many of those letters the DOJ 'snippily' dismissed were iFans proclaiming submission to the nation of iJobs?

They just want them to Leave Steve Alone (waaahhh)
 
2012-07-24 07:55:20 AM

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?


Naturally, you have a citation available that shows that publisher profit margins have been reduced to zero or below, right? I was able to find articles for Penguin and Simon & Schuster that seem to discount that theory.

So, let's be truly honest here. It's not the publishers being hurt, nor is it Amazon. If you want to feel bad for someone, feel bad for the author who generates less royalty via eBooks than traditional physical models. Need a source? Fine, take a gander. Or maybe another one?

I should point out I'm not an author in any way, and hate Amazon, Apple, and the DoJ equally. My real vested interest is to see my eBook prices reduce back to where they were when I first purchased eBooks, something approaching reasonable.
 
2012-07-24 08:03:50 AM
is price fixing illegal?

I thought it was the main business model for most large companies these days.
 
2012-07-24 08:08:19 AM
Apple totally molested the book market, and acted unlawfully, and generally dicked off against customer interest.

This isn't in debate by anyone who has looked at the facts.



(authors, incidentally, adore Amazon.... it's their publishers who don't. Just give it 10 years... those authors will be being published, paper and digitally, by Amazon, get a 70% cut, and those publishers simply won't exist any more).
 
2012-07-24 08:12:05 AM

Mad_Radhu: 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.


Umm are Ebooks not selling at the higher price? If so, then people find the Ebook worth more than this "inflated" price.

The cost of producing something does not make the price.
 
2012-07-24 08:12:25 AM

cirby: 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).

O ...


There is a young kid who made over a million dollars writing short, not very good, vampire stories, selling them on Amazon for whatever the minimum prices was, ($1.99?). She had enough to retire before she was 18. I bought one just to see, not good, but good enough for a small following that would not be worth a traditional publishers time.

So Amazon has democratized the publishing business.

So far as reprints of old still copy-righted books, Barnes and Noble was doing something like that with a bunch of books I used to pick up in their stores. Though I forget how many were public domain and how many might have still been copyrighted. Might be all were PD, so not to your point.
 
2012-07-24 08:17:03 AM

clkeagle: You pretty much nailed it - editing and promotion. Yes, it's easy to self-publish... but how many self-publishers are skipping the editing process entirely, or just having a friend/relative give it a "once over?" A good editor was worth their weight in gold before the self-publishing revolution... I'd value them at platinum now.

Maybe that's what will replace publishing companies. Instead of a handful of big-box publishers, we'll have a couple hundred small "labels" for ebooks. Each "label" would focus on certain types of books/certain markets, their editors will be the best at editing books in those categories, and everyone within the label works together to promote themselves and each others' work.



Pretty much this. though some of the editing I have seen in books lately has been atrocious. Clear misspellings, syntax errors, sentences where you know what the author meant, but garbled the line that should have been corrected.

e-publishing would bring more competition and therefore probably more competence to the editing field, at least after a shakeout.
 
2012-07-24 08:17:06 AM
My real vested interest is to see my eBook prices reduce back to where they were when I first purchased eBooks, something approaching reasonable.

Do you still purchase ebooks at the current prices? If so, then why are the prices unreasonable? Are you an unreasonable person?
 
2012-07-24 08:19:18 AM

MugzyBrown: 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.


You are conveniently ignoring the fact that as soon as we start talking about ebooks, the supply is infinite. Any limits on supply are totally artificial, designed to keep the prices high.
 
2012-07-24 08:23:29 AM

cutullus: You are conveniently ignoring the fact that as soon as we start talking about ebooks, the supply is infinite. Any limits on supply are totally artificial, designed to keep the prices high.


Then don't buy them. If people don't buy them, then the prices will come down.

If I'm selling a product I want to maximize the ratio of volume/price. It doesn't matter my production cost.

If I can sell 10,000 at $10 or 11,000 at $2, it doesn't matter if it costs me $.01 to make each unit. I want my $100,000 instead of my $22,000.
 
2012-07-24 08:33:24 AM

Bungles: Apple totally molested the book market, and acted unlawfully, and generally dicked off against customer interest.

This isn't in debate by anyone who has looked at the facts.



(authors, incidentally, adore Amazon.... it's their publishers who don't. Just give it 10 years... those authors will be being published, paper and digitally, by Amazon, get a 70% cut, and those publishers simply won't exist any more).


This. So much this.
 
2012-07-24 08:47:21 AM

MugzyBrown: Then don't buy them. If people don't buy them, then the prices will come down


Actually, when the number of people purchasing something goes down, companies for some reason tend to increase the price in an attempt to make up the profit. So relying on prices coming down by not buying them isn't really a winning strategy (even if A) the company knew you weren't purchasing because of price, and B) there were sufficient other people not buying them because of price).
 
2012-07-24 08:57:13 AM

clkeagle: 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.

You pretty much nailed it - editing and promotion. Yes, it's easy to self-publish... but how many self-publishers are skipping the editing process entirely, or just having a friend/relative give it a "once over?" A good editor was worth their weight in gold before the self-publishing revolution... I'd value them at platinum now.

Maybe that's what will replace publishing companies. Instead of a handful of big-box publishers, we'll have a couple hundred small "labels" for ebooks. Each "label" would focus on certain types of books/certain markets, their editors will be the best at editing books in those categories, and everyone within the label works together to promote themselves and each others' work.


I'm sure there will be a bunch of "help-you-publish-for-a-flat-fee" companies coming out that will charge you like $500 to take your manuscript, edit the shiat out of it, put it in the various formats, produce a professional-looking cover, post it to the different sites, and then maybe even have a hard copy sent to you so you can put it up on your bookshelf.
 
2012-07-24 09:00:59 AM

AdamK: i'm still waiting for school textbooks to go digital and be... at most... $5

until then, don't care about ebooks


Ever notice how the name on your textbook frequently seems to be very similar to the name of a professor at your university? It's almost as though they're requiring you to purchase a textbook knowing that doing so puts $50 in their pocket.
 
2012-07-24 09:19:30 AM

meanmutton: I'm sure there will be a bunch of "help-you-publish-for-a-flat-fee" companies coming out that will charge you like $500 to take your manuscript, edit the shiat out of it, put it in the various formats, produce a professional-looking cover, post it to the different sites, and then maybe even have a hard copy sent to you so you can put it up on your bookshelf.


Lulu already offers something similar to what you're describing. Link As does Amazon via CreateSpace. Link

I'm thinking of something even simpler than that - around 100 people per "label." Take Sci-Fi for example. You could have 40 SF novelists, 40 SF short fiction writers, 10 editors, 3 layout/design folks, 2 cover artists, and 5 people to serve as web administrators/forum moderators/etc. Each of those 100 people, by joining that label, agree to help market each others' work in every way possible.

For example, every time one author publishes something, all 99 others post about that item on their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs, and any related web forum they visit. So in this example, all 100 authors get exposed to areas they normally wouldn't. If I was one of the short fiction writers, I'd post everything the label publishes on the miniature gaming boards I visit. I'm not personally a video game guy, but since others on that "label" probably would be, they would in turn expose my work to potential fans in video game circle.

Let's say that "label" publishes through Amazon. Under the terms of that "label," something like 30% will go back to Amazon, 60% to the author, 5% to the editor, 2% to the artist, 2% to the designer, and 1% back to the "label" for its own web fees.

I'm just a layman, but I don't see any reason why that couldn't work. And I think it would work equally well for nonfiction, textbooks, reference books, or even downloadable compilations of popular web comics.
 
2012-07-24 09:29:40 AM

Riche: 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?


Usually the public domain books that cost money have better formatting, notes, illustrations, etc. - but you can usually find the exact same book (maybe with a worse translation or no chapter breaks) for free on Amazon.
 
2012-07-24 09:36:47 AM

tomWright: There is a young kid who made over a million dollars writing short, not very good, vampire stories, selling them on Amazon for whatever the minimum prices was, ($1.99?). She had enough to retire before she was 18. I bought one just to see, not good, but good enough for a small following that would not be worth a traditional publishers time.


Didn't 50 shades of grey start off as an ebook because its written so poorly that no one wanted to publish it? Looks like she's laughing all the way to the bank as well...
 
2012-07-24 09:51:53 AM

cirby: 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...


near future? It's been years since I bought a physical baen book. Meanwhile they've gotten over a grand from me in webscriptions.

At the $2-3 price point for book, I'm too lazy to visit the library and am willing to take the chance. Getting me to spend $10 is much more difficult.

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.


That's only if you pay MSRP for physical books. I like to say that I'm not trying if I'm paying more than 75% of MSRP.

Take the first 'monthly pick' at Amazon - "Shadow of the Night" by Deborah Harkness. List is $29.95. Currently on sale for $16.31 and you can get free shipping. Get it on Kindle for $13. Savings of $3.69. But that's a hardback vs kindle. What about publisher's back catalogs? Robert Jordan's Eye of the World in paperback is $6 vs $7 for the kindle. Shadow Rising, $9 each, Fires of Heavon $8 each, etc... And that's before I get the 10-30% off from coupons, store discounts, etc...

Though I'll admit that they're closer than last time.
 
2012-07-24 10:53:36 AM

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.

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.



Oh, the big publishers in New York have hated Amazon for years and years because of their low pricing. They sells new books at used book prices, they believe they abuse review copy policies, they screw up the royalty system with authors .... but probably the most egregious crime in their eyes is that Amazon just generally refuses to play ball with the publishing big boys.

It's hardly a surprise that they're using a "But ... but ... but ... Amazon" as their defense when they get caught red handed participating in blatant price fixing.
 
2012-07-24 11:02:33 AM

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.


It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.
 
2012-07-24 11:04:33 AM

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.


Pretty much why I don't give 2 shiats about ebooks. I see no reason for any e-book to cost more then 5.00. That data is just so damn expensive after all.
 
2012-07-24 11:16:49 AM

cirby: 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.


FYI: That "75% royalty" stuff is a bunch of baloney. Amazon's 30% cut doesn't include the "Average Delivery Cost" which can be $2.58 on a $9.99 book.

I still agree that self-publishing is going to be the future, however. As stated above, the biggest value-adds from publishers are editing and publicity. I could easily see small editing houses start up with a few people who work through manuscripts and then take a cut after publishing.

If I set up a website now, and solicited manuscripts from anybody on the internet, do you think people would email me the novel they've got parked on their hard drive? If I just picked out the best ones and spent a few months on each working it over before setting it up and putting it on Amazon, do you think they would allow me $0.20 a copy of a four dollar book?

Of course, the idea behind this isn't new or original - I'm sure lots of people have come up with the same business plan, and there's already probably people setting this up. The real trick is going to make it so that you know that I'm worth my 20 cents - that I'm not just some teenager at a keyboard that will hold onto your manuscript for six months without communicating with you, butcher it to pieces by adding vampires or something, and then still expect to get paid when you undo all of my laborious work. It would be better for some kind of marketplace - writers looking for editors, where everybody is peer reviewed and the writer knows that the editor they're signing up with is actually qualified.

Anyway, somebody give me some money to start setting something like this up.
 
2012-07-24 11:26:46 AM

malaktaus: 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.


Editing, typesetting & layout, cover art, advertising and in some cases PR related duties. Even going straight to e-book with no need to layout the pages for printing there is a lot of tidying and tarting up of a manuscript before it ever makes it to market.

You'd be surprised just how much editing and how many revisions it takes for that well crafted book you enjoyed to appear from it's original draft.

I can see publishers changing their form but I can't see them going anywhere soon, self publishing is nice but... unless you are shiat hot in the required skills AND can write like a demon you aren't going to get anywhere.
 
2012-07-24 11:34:27 AM
Self publishing and the democracy of digital books is one of those "Be careful what you wish for" things for book consumers. It reminds me a lot of Nick Lowe's comments on the state of music...

"Sad to say, it seems everyone can make a pretty good record in their bedroom today. You go buy the kit and you can make a pretty good record. 'Pretty good' is the new 'terrible.' In a tsunami of 'pretty good' stuff, you can't find the really good stuff. So I've kind of given up looking."
 
2012-07-24 11:35:20 AM

ApatheticMonkey:
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.)


I actually had this happen to me with video games rather than e-books but the situation is comparable. I basically brought a Sins of a Solar Empire (and it's two expansions) from Stardock's Impulse system. They sold it to Gamestop. Last month I tried to reinstall SOASE (and GalCiv2) and neither Stardock's new system or Gamestop's re-branded Impulse had any record of my account and purchases. I went through every e-mail address I had and their "lost username/password" forms and it spat each one back as being invalid/non-existant.

About £80 down the drain all told. It makes me... dubious about things like Steam to be honest; sure Valve have said they'll send an unlock patch if they ever shutter the system but they've never clarified if that's ALL purchases or just THEIR products.
 
2012-07-24 11:39:06 AM
TFA: My bias may be showing...

Yes, it is. Next...
 
2012-07-24 11:49:50 AM
I could see a case for tiered pricing for e-books

All my kindle books are reference manuals or text books. These are the types of books that go for $50-$75 for the soft cover, or $45 for the e-book. /sigh

Standard pdf of these books should be about $5.

Bells and whistles, custom format. Can do everything an e-book should to make it as easy to use as a paperback reference manual, maybe 1/2 the price of the paperback.

You lose a lot of convenience when you put a manual onto an e-reader, you shouldn't have to nearly the same price as a standard book.
 
2012-07-24 11:53:43 AM

StreetlightInTheGhetto: Shrug.

I read on my Android. Works fine. Aldiko.


I'm sure it works fine. I just prefer reading on an e-ink device. My eyes don't hurt as much after prolonged periods of time. Personal preference.
 
2012-07-24 11:55:22 AM

InmanRoshi: Self publishing and the democracy of digital books is one of those "Be careful what you wish for" things for book consumers. It reminds me a lot of Nick Lowe's comments on the state of music...

"Sad to say, it seems everyone can make a pretty good record in their bedroom today. You go buy the kit and you can make a pretty good record. 'Pretty good' is the new 'terrible.' In a tsunami of 'pretty good' stuff, you can't find the really good stuff. So I've kind of given up looking."


There in lies the problem, you can build a half-way decent recording studio yourself and your band might well be talented and capable of commercially viable music. But without the guy who knows how to run the mixing desk & Ableton (or Logic or whatever) you're going to sound shiat nor can you just go "fark this expense" plug everything in to the line-in on your cheap-ass Walmart PC and hit record in Audacity whilst hoping the for the best.

To all aspiring bands, your producer and audio engineer aren't middle men to be avoided, they're good friends who'll junk a shiat session before the public ever get a sniff of it so you don't look like idiots.
 
2012-07-24 11:57:00 AM
Most of the public comments were meaningless because the average person doesn't understand Anti-Trust Law.

I would guess that at least half of the public comments were from people complaining about DOJ picking on Apple

I find the idea that the Publishers get to pick the prices/margins that retailers sell the product to be repugnant. The agency model is bad for consumers
 
2012-07-24 12:10:38 PM

Nem Wan:
It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.


But Apple then told the publishers that they could not sell through any other channel at a lower price. That is collusion. Amazon do not do that.
 
2012-07-24 12:59:51 PM

The Banana Thug: 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.


Ebooks were overpriced well before Jobs, but you keep right on going there, cupcake.
 
2012-07-24 01:09:18 PM
phyrkrakr:
FYI: That "75% royalty" stuff is a bunch of baloney. Amazon's 30% cut doesn't include the "Average Delivery Cost" which can be $2.58 on a $9.99 book.

If you manage to rack up a $2.58 "delivery cost" on a book, it's because it's HUGE. They charge fifteen cents a megabyte in the US, and similar amounts in other markets. The guy at the link is whining because his eighteen megabyte book with 50 photos in it cost a helluva lot of money, when compared to a text file.

For example, a nice medium-sized 100,000 word novel would run a massive half a megabyte or so - which means the "delivery cost would be (rounding up)... EIGHT CENTS.

So at the 70% rate, a $4 book would gross $2.80, minus $0.08 = $2.72. Which ain't bad. Not as much fun as $3 per book, but not bad.
 
2012-07-24 01:12:33 PM
Flint Ironstag:
But Apple then told the publishers that they could not sell through any other channel at a lower price. That is collusion. Amazon do not do that.

From Amazon's terms:
"You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book."

In other words, they actually do do that, in a slightly different way.
 
2012-07-24 01:20:30 PM
Vaneshi:
To all aspiring bands, your producer and audio engineer aren't middle men to be avoided, they're good friends who'll junk a shiat session before the public ever get a sniff of it so you don't look like idiots.

...except the producer and audio engineer aren't the labels - who do the most damage and take the most money out of the stream.

There are a lot - a LOT - of good, solid independent producers and recording engineers setting up shop nowadays. Some of them used to work for the big labels until they asked for more money, or got "too old" to get along with the 25 year olds who are trying to run things now. So they bought a few thousand bucks worth of gear, set up a small studio in their homes or in cheap warehouses, and started working with new bands. They get less money up front, but they can do pretty well in the long run.

I know a couple of guys just like that. They record whenever the band can show up, they have time free on weekends to go gig if they want to... and they're making a good bit of money while having a lot of fun working with bands they like, instead of whatever the flavor-of-the-week is.
 
2012-07-24 02:38:14 PM

MugzyBrown: 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.


what you did there, I see it
 
2012-07-24 03:20:20 PM

Dear Jerk: 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.


Ahhh a well hidden apple fan troll, basically saying people only buy the competitors because they offer a good experience for a cheaper price, thereby forcing people to buy their more expensive devices with more expensive titles all while cutting deals with publishers to not make their book available to amazon.

I guess they had to do something since they couldnt sue them for having a device to similar to theirs, fark apple, if this were the 80s they would try suing IBM for making computers.

Nem Wan: It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.


Reading comprehension failure, the set prices are not the issue, its the collusion between publishers and apple that they will not agree to discount their product at all, thereby killing amazon(who is hated by publishers and book retailers) and making them more profit. The collusion is the illegal part, not the prices they set their books at, apple can keep theres at 14.99 but what publishers cant do is tell a store/site that they have to sell it at that price.

Carousel Beast: Ebooks were overpriced well before Jobs, but you keep right on going there, cupcake.


This has nothing to do with pricing and everything to do with collusion between apple and book publishers.
 
2012-07-24 03:38:31 PM

phyrkrakr: cirby: 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.

FYI: That "75% royalty" stuff is a bunch of baloney. Amazon's 30% cut doesn't include the "Average Delivery Cost" which can be $2.58 on a $9.99 book.

I still agree that self-publishing is going to be the future, however. As stated above, the biggest value-adds from publishers are editing and publicity. I could easily see small editing houses start up with a few people who work through manuscripts and then take a cut after publishing.

If I set up a website now, and solicited manuscripts from anybody on the internet, do you think people would email me the novel they've got parked on their hard drive? If I just picked out the best ones and spent a few months on each working it over before setting it up and putting it on Amazon, do you think they would allow me $0.20 a copy of a four dollar book?

Of course, the idea behind this isn't new or original - I'm sure lots of people have come up with the same business plan, and there's already probably people setting this up. The real trick is going to make it so that you know that I'm worth my 20 cents - that I'm not just some teenager at a keyboard that will hold onto your manuscript for six months without communicating with you, butcher it to pieces by adding vampires or something, and then still expect to get paid when you undo all of my laborious work. It would be better for some kind of marketplace - writers looking for editors, where everybody is peer reviewed and the writer knows that the editor they're signing up with is actually qualified.

Anyway, somebody give me some money to start setting something like this up.


Actually the royalty is 70%, not 75%. But you're wrong about the average delivery cost, at least in my experience. I do sell some books on Amazon and my average delivery cost is like 3 cents per book.
 
2012-07-24 03:42:10 PM

cirby:
...except the producer and audio engineer aren't the labels - who do the most damage and take the most money out of the stream.


Indeed, there just seems to be a mentality that these behind the scenes people aren't needed or should be avoided... which isn't a bright idea unless you happen to be a producer/engineer as well. Same as people wanting to self-publish books... go find a freelance editor FFS.
 
2012-07-24 03:49:53 PM

MugzyBrown: 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.


Econ 101 fail.
 
2012-07-24 04:00:22 PM

MugzyBrown: cutullus: You are conveniently ignoring the fact that as soon as we start talking about ebooks, the supply is infinite. Any limits on supply are totally artificial, designed to keep the prices high.

Then don't buy them. If people don't buy them, then the prices will come down.

If I'm selling a product I want to maximize the ratio of volume/price. It doesn't matter my production cost.

If I can sell 10,000 at $10 or 11,000 at $2, it doesn't matter if it costs me $.01 to make each unit. I want my $100,000 instead of my $22,000.


Fark, you're an idiot. You're not wrong, but you're not understanding the point either.
 
2012-07-24 04:02:54 PM

Bhruic: MugzyBrown: Then don't buy them. If people don't buy them, then the prices will come down

Actually, when the number of people purchasing something goes down, companies for some reason tend to increase the price in an attempt to make up the profit. So relying on prices coming down by not buying them isn't really a winning strategy (even if A) the company knew you weren't purchasing because of price, and B) there were sufficient other people not buying them because of price).


That's not entirely true. It completely depends on the elasticity of the demand of the product. Gas/heating/water, sure. Baseball cards, no.
 
2012-07-24 04:09:49 PM

Nem Wan: 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.

It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.


Bullshiat. Way to water down the facts. The laws in this country are geared towards facilitating a free market. However innocuous you think Apple's terms are, if they are disrupting the free market and preventing fair competition, then something's illegal.
 
2012-07-24 04:22:06 PM

Carousel Beast: The Banana Thug: 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.

Ebooks were overpriced well before Jobs, but you keep right on going there, cupcake.


Depends on how you look at it. If the cost of duplicating a digital copy of a product is a penny, that doesn't mean an ebook should be $0.02 to be profitable. No author or producer would cannibalize an existing product line (hardcopy books) by pricing ebooks too low. Hardcopy books have a considerable fixed cost that needs to be recovered, so that means selling an X amount of books minimum to break even. If they set their ebook prices too low, then they cannot publish hardcopies and hurt overall profit across all mediums. In addition, hardcopies amplify sale of digital copies. For example, how do you know those strangers on the bus are reading "50 Shades" on their ereaders? You don't, so awareness is low. So yes, we might differ on what "overpriced" is at the baseline level, but there is no doubt that prices jumped after Steve Jobs.
 
2012-07-24 04:27:13 PM

cirby: Flint Ironstag:
But Apple then told the publishers that they could not sell through any other channel at a lower price. That is collusion. Amazon do not do that.

From Amazon's terms:
"You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book."

In other words, they actually do do that, in a slightly different way.


"Slightly"? Big farking difference. If the average apartment rent in your area is $500 per month, and the city passed a law saying price floor is $200, chances are it doesn't affect anyone at all. But a price CEILING of $200, every landlord on average is incurring an economic loss of $300 per month and the free market is heavily disrupted. "Slightly" is hardly the word you want to use.
 
2012-07-24 05:34:47 PM
The Banana Thug:
"Slightly"? Big farking difference. If the average apartment rent in your area is $500 per month, and the city passed a law saying price floor is $200, chances are it doesn't affect anyone at all. But a price CEILING of $200, every landlord on average is incurring an economic loss of $300 per month and the free market is heavily disrupted. "Slightly" is hardly the word you want to use.

Nope - the real result of the Amazon policy is to prevent their authors from discounting it with other sellers - in effect, they put a maximum price on their ebooks. In conjunction with the policies of all of the publishers and major distributors, it locks their ebooks into the same price as everyone else.

It's still the same sort of price fixing - it's just in the opposite direction.
 
2012-07-24 07:44:26 PM

cirby: phyrkrakr:
FYI: That "75% royalty" stuff is a bunch of baloney. Amazon's 30% cut doesn't include the "Average Delivery Cost" which can be $2.58 on a $9.99 book.

If you manage to rack up a $2.58 "delivery cost" on a book, it's because it's HUGE. They charge fifteen cents a megabyte in the US, and similar amounts in other markets. The guy at the link is whining because his eighteen megabyte book with 50 photos in it cost a helluva lot of money, when compared to a text file.

For example, a nice medium-sized 100,000 word novel would run a massive half a megabyte or so - which means the "delivery cost would be (rounding up)... EIGHT CENTS.

So at the 70% rate, a $4 book would gross $2.80, minus $0.08 = $2.72. Which ain't bad. Not as much fun as $3 per book, but not bad.


There's also a really good reason Amazon has that added delivery cost and Apple does not, namely the book delivery via 3G cell networks that is built into many of the Kindles. They have to pay AT&T or Sprint to deliver the book, so they charge the author for the bandwidth. As the Kindles sold are increasingly of the WiFi only variety, I can see this fee being reduced over time.
 
2012-07-25 01:51:53 AM

clkeagle: I'm just a layman, but I don't see any reason why that couldn't work. And I think it would work equally well for nonfiction, textbooks, reference books, or even downloadable compilations of popular web comics.


Board rules for one; the forums I frequent all have strict guidelines about promoting stuff, it's a good way to get banned there.

I'd imagine that if your idea really started to take off that the rules would get stricter.
 
2012-07-25 03:08:10 AM
Apple has no monopoly in e-books. Apple is unlikely to have a monopoly in e-books. Apple will NEVER have an monopoly in publishing. I can't fathom why Apple is on the receiving end of an Anti-trust suit that involved e-books.

The collusion that the major publishing players did, well, that's a different story. They, as a whole, are a monopoly on the e-books AND publishing. When they colluded against Amazon's prices, that was very likely illegal.
 
2012-07-25 12:19:34 PM

Renowned transvestite sexologist: Apple has no monopoly in e-books. Apple is unlikely to have a monopoly in e-books. Apple will NEVER have an monopoly in publishing. I can't fathom why Apple is on the receiving end of an Anti-trust suit that involved e-books.

The collusion that the major publishing players did, well, that's a different story. They, as a whole, are a monopoly on the e-books AND publishing. When they colluded against Amazon's prices, that was very likely illegal.




But it was Apple chairing the meeting of that collusion....
 
2012-07-25 02:28:38 PM

Bungles: But it was Apple chairing the meeting of that collusion....


What Apple did was set prices at their own store. If the publishing industry hadn't of then colluded against Amazon all on their own, nothing illegal would have happened.
 
2012-07-26 10:43:32 AM

Renowned transvestite sexologist: Bungles: But it was Apple chairing the meeting of that collusion....

What Apple did was set prices at their own store. If the publishing industry hadn't of then colluded against Amazon all on their own, nothing illegal would have happened.


You're probably trolling, but as the poster you quoted said, Apple set prices at their own store, then initiated the collusion between the publishers to ensure other retailers had to sell at Apple's prices at minimum as well. Apple IS a critical part of the collusion.
 
2012-07-26 01:29:09 PM

MugzyBrown: 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.


Not sure if trolling or just completely retarded.

There is no limit to supply on an electronic file. There is no cost to supply past the labor to craft unit one.
 
2012-07-26 01:31:29 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?


Average ebook price takes into account the 1 copy of "My Life of Living in the Basement Posting on Fark" that someone published and sold for a penny through Amazon.

They need to look at the average price of books that actually sell. (Classics, current hits, etc).

As another poster said, most of the time ebooks and paper books cost the same, or the ebook costs more. That is price fixing.
 
2012-07-26 02:03:54 PM

Nem Wan: It is derp. Apple has always preferred to have flat or simply tiered pricing. Every song on the iTunes Store was 99 cents originally. This no different than a brick and mortar dollar store pricing everything at a dollar. Apple has simple terms for content owners: if you want to sell something in Apple's store, Apple gets 30%. This is not collusion or a "deal", it's Apple informing everybody that these are the terms under which Apple will resell your product. Apple was only trying to do the exact same thing with their iBookstore that they've done with their iTunes Store and App Store.


0/10 Obvious troll is obvious.
 
2012-07-26 02:05:21 PM

ZiegZeon: 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.

Pretty much why I don't give 2 shiats about ebooks. I see no reason for any e-book to cost more then 5.00. That data is just so damn expensive after all.


At of the start of this thread, I would have said $5. Now I'm closer to $2.

If Netflix is $8/month and I can read 4 books a month with the time I watch Netflix, then ebooks should be no more than $2.
 
2012-07-26 02:07:27 PM

Vaneshi: malaktaus: 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.

Editing, typesetting & layout, cover art, advertising and in some cases PR related duties. Even going straight to e-book with no need to layout the pages for printing there is a lot of tidying and tarting up of a manuscript before it ever makes it to market.

You'd be surprised just how much editing and how many revisions it takes for that well crafted book you enjoyed to appear from it's original draft.

I can see publishers changing their form but I can't see them going anywhere soon, self publishing is nice but... unless you are shiat hot in the required skills AND can write like a demon you aren't going to get anywhere.


"just how much editing" and yet they still sell just as well as utter trash like Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray.
 
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