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(CNN)   DOJ doubles down on anti-Apple ebook derp   (tech.fortune.cnn.com) divider line 54
    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»



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Archived thread
2012-07-23 06:27:52 PM  
7 votes:
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 08:49:57 PM  
5 votes:
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 07:03:03 PM  
4 votes:

RexTalionis: Hard to see how that's derp.


You forgot the key thing. Someone dared to speak against Apple.
2012-07-23 11:44:37 PM  
3 votes:
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...
2012-07-23 11:07:32 PM  
3 votes:
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 09:49:53 PM  
3 votes:

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 09:32:26 PM  
3 votes:
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.
2012-07-23 09:31:02 PM  
3 votes:

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.
2012-07-24 12:48:38 AM  
2 votes:
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 12:17:38 AM  
2 votes:

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.
jgi
2012-07-23 11:48:25 PM  
2 votes:
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.
2012-07-23 10:13:42 PM  
2 votes:

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 09:40:44 PM  
2 votes:
Apple trying to set a price point much higher than it should be... say it ain't so...
2012-07-23 09:37:36 PM  
2 votes:

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 09:15:48 PM  
2 votes:
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 06:45:21 PM  
2 votes:

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.
2012-07-26 02:07:27 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2012-07-26 02:05:21 PM  
1 votes:

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 02:03:54 PM  
1 votes:

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 01:31:29 PM  
1 votes:

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 01:29:09 PM  
1 votes:

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.
2012-07-24 01:09:18 PM  
1 votes:
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 12:10:38 PM  
1 votes:

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 11:57:00 AM  
1 votes:
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 10:53:36 AM  
1 votes:

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 09:19:30 AM  
1 votes:

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 09:00:59 AM  
1 votes:

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 08:57:13 AM  
1 votes:

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 08:47:21 AM  
1 votes:

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 08:33:24 AM  
1 votes:

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 08:19:18 AM  
1 votes:

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 08:08:19 AM  
1 votes:
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 07:53:58 AM  
1 votes:

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 07:34:26 AM  
1 votes:

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 06:56:19 AM  
1 votes:
Wait, people are actually dumb enough to defend Apple in this?
2012-07-24 02:14:19 AM  
1 votes:
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 01:01:50 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:22:09 AM  
1 votes:

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 12:19:57 AM  
1 votes:
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.
2012-07-23 11:30:56 PM  
1 votes:
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.
2012-07-23 11:16:19 PM  
1 votes:

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 11:13:01 PM  
1 votes:

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 11:12:06 PM  
1 votes:

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 10:53:16 PM  
1 votes:

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 10:24:10 PM  
1 votes:

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 10:17:41 PM  
1 votes:

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 09:48:01 PM  
1 votes:

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 09:42:51 PM  
1 votes:

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.
jvl
2012-07-23 09:34:35 PM  
1 votes:

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 09:19:02 PM  
1 votes:

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 09:18:44 PM  
1 votes:
This is AT&T's fault. Or the manufacturer. Or you're holding the device wrong.
2012-07-23 09:06:59 PM  
1 votes:

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 07:38:03 PM  
1 votes:

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 06:43:44 PM  
1 votes:

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.
 
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