Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

“Federal Court Finds Apple Guilty of E-Book Price Fixing”

The title of this post is from an article on WIRED.

Forbes, a major money magazine, has Apple Loses E-book Case After Judge Says It Played A ‘Central Role’ in Price-Fixing Conspiracy.

Back in March last year, when the story broke, I wrote Authors/Readers vs Publishers vs the U.S. Dept. of Justice.

Then in June I wrote Public & Publishers Speak Out To U. S. D. O. J. on Pricing Collusion.

The March post linked to a conversation between authors Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler and I quoted part of it in the June post:

“…if you’ve not been following the story, the publishers involved are all pointing fingers at Amazon as the company that must be stopped

“I’ll put a bit of conversation between authors Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler, from the March postwith their opinions about Amazon as the Bad Guy:

“Joe: The Big Publishing Cartel monopolizes distribution for decades and that’s fine, but some upstart comes in and starts treating authors and readers with consideration, and it is a call to arms.

“Barry: This argument is just bizarre. I mean, Amazon, which sells more books than anyone, is destroying bookselling? Amazon is destroying bookselling by selling tons of books?”

So, the case has reached a verdict (with probable appeals approaching) and the site GigaOM has an article that deals with DRM, Amazon, and the Big Six Publishers.

If you don’t know what DRM is, watch this video or check out this article

GigaOM’s article is called The real villain in the ebooks case isn’t Apple or Amazon — it’s publishers’ addiction to DRM and there’s a subheading that says The Big Six gave Amazon the keys

Here’s a short excerpt from that article, just to encourage you to go read the whole thing:

“The Big Six’s pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. [Their] insistence on DRM has proven to be a hideous mistake. Rather than reducing piracy, it has locked customers in Amazon’s walled garden, which in turn increases Amazon’s leverage over publishers.”

Wondering where this will all end—though, many folks are going to speculate themselves into a frenzy………
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2 responses to ““Federal Court Finds Apple Guilty of E-Book Price Fixing”

  1. Andy Shackcloth July 11, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Interestingly Amazon also have applied DRM to their products on the Kindle. To the point where they once, over night, removed George Orwell’s book from thousands of customers Kindles even though the customers had bought and paid for those e-books through the Amazon store.
    In another case when a woman moved to Norway, Amazon deemed all her Kindle books previously bought in the UK were “outside license” and promptly deleted them ALL.

    Which is why I will not buy a Kindle because when I buy a book I like it to be mine.

    So we have the publishers want DRM, Amazon also want and apply strict DRM. Of course everyone wants to get paid for the work they do. Even the pirates charge for you to download books from them. True the torrent sites don’t, they get paid with advertising bucks.

    It appears true that Amazon is upsetting the “fruit” cart. Books below cost, e-books that pay authors 70% as opposed to 15% from the traditional’ publishers, assisted print on demand, popularity rankings from sales and not from marketing opinions, etc.

    Now I don’t personally believe Amazon is a good force, not since their deplorably malicious acts of removing all author rankings who had a book in the LGBT sections, and again overnight caused immense hardship for people who had done no crime. (Amongst others.)

    Unfortunately, money speaks, whether it is in purchasing power or in the ears of legal professionals and state employees.

    I think we will see traditional publishing fall into diverse niche industries that serve the author/public with the approaching technological innovations. I believe nothing can save them from this fate, since the far reaching and instant power of the internet can move faster then they can think.

    I also think that Amazon will continue to grow until it becomes the target of a federal anti-competition case and is forcibly broken up.

    But then, maybe Google and their books program might just be looking to undermine all of them.


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 11, 2013 at 2:51 pm

      Fascinating thoughts, Andy :-)

      As far as Amazon taking back books one has bought, I download to my desktop then USB transfer to my Kindle—they can’t get to them without me connecting to WiFi :-)

      It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out—I do like your idea about the Trad Publishers falling into diverse niche industries


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