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A.P.M.
10-14-2012, 07:01 PM
I did a search for this topic and didn't find it, but let me know if this already exists somewhere.

So recently I got an email from Amazon telling me I'm entitled to some credit on my account because of an Ebook settlement. I looked it up and apparently five publishers (Penguin, Macmilian, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins and Hachette) decided to settle a an anti-trust lawsuit by crediting ebook buyers. Apparently this will also limit their ability to set prices on Ebooks. There's some information here: https://ebooksagsettlements.com/Home.aspx

I don't know much legalese, but I am curious about this. While I don't want to pay the same price for an Ebook that I do for a paperback, I also realize that a lot of big publishers are in a state of flux right now, and I wonder if this will hurt them in the long run.

Would anyone who knows more care to discuss it? Does anyone think this will affect us writers?

CrastersBabies
10-14-2012, 07:42 PM
I received the same email and am also curious. Yeah, there's no way I'm paying more for an ebook than print. The first thing that comes to mind on this is the textbook industry. Some textbooks are $100 in print and $50-$60 in kindle form. This is huge for college students wanting to save some money, and you'd think that companies would make more money off the e-version as there is no printing involved.

I don't know.

It will be interesting to see some answers.

victoriastrauss
10-14-2012, 07:45 PM
The credits are the result of settlements by the publishers in lawsuits brought by the Attorneys General of a number of states. These lawsuits in turn stem from a Department of Justice investigation into alleged price-fixing by the publishers and Apple (at issue was the agency model of ebook pricing), which resulted in a lawsuit where some of the publishers settled and others didn't.

For an overview of the lawsuits and the issues involved, see my blog post (http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2012/04/13/the-dojs-ebook-price-fixing-lawsuit-against-apple-and-the-agency-five-an-overview/).

- Victoria

Medievalist
10-14-2012, 07:59 PM
Would anyone who knows more care to discuss it? Does anyone think this will affect us writers?

Yes, it will affect writers. And no, it's not good for anyone but Amazon.

Jamesaritchie
10-15-2012, 02:37 AM
And it really doesn't mean they can't charge as much as they like for an e-book. Price fixing isn't about how much is charged, it's about collusion to set prices.

And, as Medievalist says, it's not good for anyone except Amazon. And I suspect it'll come back and bite Amazon in the butt before it's all over.

James D. Macdonald
10-15-2012, 07:55 AM
Two publishers haven't settled:


Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (“Penguin”); and
Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, known as Macmillan (“Macmillan”).

The suit(s) is/are, in my opinion, meritless. No collusion or "price fixing" existed.



Perhaps next the DOJ can investigate how much Amazon spent on lobbying to bring about this attack on authors and publishers.

Samsonet
10-15-2012, 08:01 AM
I'm sorry, I don't understand. What's going on here? Think of me as that dimwit back in grade school -- I get most of it through the blog post, but what is the settlement for and why are people getting random emails about it? Someone please explain?

Rhoda Nightingale
10-16-2012, 06:34 AM
I'm confused for a different reason: This suit was brought about by Apple, yes? So how is Amazon benefitting from it? I mean, I guess as retailers they'll be affected, but was this their idea?

victoriastrauss
10-16-2012, 06:40 AM
Read my blog post (http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2012/04/13/the-dojs-ebook-price-fixing-lawsuit-against-apple-and-the-agency-five-an-overview/). It will explain all.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
10-16-2012, 06:51 AM
This suit was brought about by Apple, yes?

No.


... but was this their idea?

It's got Amazon's sticky fingerprints all over it.

Rhoda Nightingale
10-16-2012, 06:57 AM
Read my blog post (http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2012/04/13/the-dojs-ebook-price-fixing-lawsuit-against-apple-and-the-agency-five-an-overview/). It will explain all.

- Victoria
I did, twice, and I'm still confused.

And having done that, tell me if I've at least got this much right: This suit was brought by the US Department of Justice, against Apple and these other publishers. And Amazon is happy about this because it means they get more control over pricing. Okay, I think that makes sense.

But what exactly did Amazon do to bring this about? I think I see how it benefits them, but I don't see what their role was in making this lawsuit happen.

ios
10-16-2012, 07:35 AM
Two publishers haven't settled:


Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (“Penguin”); and
Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, known as Macmillan (“Macmillan”).

The suit(s) is/are, in my opinion, meritless. No collusion or "price fixing" existed.


I dunno. I read the MediaBistro (http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/publishers-allegedly-deleted-emails-to-avoid-leaving-a-paper-trail-in-agency-model-discussions_b49976)page (found via Victoria (http://www.victoriastrauss.com/2012/04/13/the-dojs-ebook-price-fixing-lawsuit-against-apple-and-the-agency-five-an-overview/)'s link--thanks!), and if turns out to have a basis, some of these actions sound like collusion to this lay person. Although it is only alleged, any time one tries to hide evidence that looks hinky, it usually means something hinky is going on.

Jodi

GeekTells
10-16-2012, 08:36 AM
1.) Amazon dumped Kindle best sellers in order to gain market share for the Kindle platform. This wasn't illegal since Amazon did not have a monopoly in books at the time, but it was a grand part of Amazon's strategy of putting brick and mortar (read: Barnes & Noble and Borders) retailers out of business.

Amazon routinely sold Kindle best sellers for less than what it paid for them, and the result was that the Kindle platform exploded and Amazon garnered 90% market share in ebooks. Note that in most markets, this sort of thing tends to equal monopoly power.

At first, many publishers and authors were delighted because they got full price for their books and sold more in the process. Then they began to realize that Amazon was training customers to value best sellers at $9.99 and they began to panic.

2.) Apple didn't want to compete on price with Amazon in ebooks and Steve Jobs recognized that the publishing industry was going to let Amazon drive it into ruination. Fortunately (or not), he had the formula for solving both problems.

3.) Apple offered the six major U.S. publishers the tools to retake control of its product. It was a two-pronged approach, with the first step being to allow publishers to use the agency model to sell books through iBooks on Apple's soon-to-be-released iPad (this was in 2010). The second was the so-called "most favored nation" clause that prohibited publishers from allowing their books to be sold for less elsewhere (read: Amazon).

4.) Five publishers recognized the lifeline being thrown at them and signed on the dotted line. Armed with the MFN clause, they forced Amazon to move to the agency model. The result was that prices on ebook best sellers rose $2-3 more or less overnight. The other result was that Amazon's share of the ebook market fell to 60%, while B&N's Nook took 15ish% and Apple took another 10%. Independent ebook sellers also flourished.

So on the one hand, prices went up to something closer to sustainable, but on the other we had competition in terms of platform, a move away from DRM, and advancement in technology. Even Amazon's Kindle iPad app is far superior today than it was when the iPad was first released. Nook also became a very viable platform, and of course iBooks 2 and Apple's Author are a huge advancement in the ebook experience.

5.) Apple negotiated with each of the publishers separately (or so it says), but the five colluding publishers had breakfast one morning (at a fancy place whose name I don't remember, but it's apparently a Thing™ in NYC) and agreed that Apple's deal was their best course of action. Unfortunately, this is the smoking gun in this case.

6.) Eric Holder and/or his minions looked at this, plus the overnight increase in best seller prices, and said "ZOMG! WE MUST RESTORE COMPETITION TO THE MARKET PLACE! TO THE COURTS!"

The DOJ essentially is working to restore monopoly power to Amazon in the name of competition. It's perverse, IMNHO.

Amazon is known to have met frequently with the DOJ in the months leading up the investigation/suit—as noted above, the whole thing has their stink all over it.

7.) The settlement goodies announced by Amazon on Monday are related to three publishers settling—they rolled over faster than you can say "submissive bitch" a few seconds after the DOJ announced its suit.

The settlement won't be approved (or not) by the judge presiding over the case until February 2013, but Amazon decided to tell folks the "good news" today, a smart strategy that nonetheless makes my skin crawl.

I wrote up some coverage of this (http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/amazon-kindle-customers-will-get-credit-in-ebook-settlement) at The Mac Observer earlier today, FWIW.

As I said in that piece, fans of Amazon's rush-to-the-bottom business model who can't wait for the day when books are unedited and un-marketed should be delighted.

I am personally un-delighted and marvel at the lack of sophistication in the DOJ's approach to this whole situation.

Richard Paolinelli
10-16-2012, 10:42 AM
I am personally un-delighted and marvel at the lack of sophistication in the DOJ's approach to this whole situation.

Given it is Eric Holder, and given his long track record of incompetence, in what way can anyone be surprised at the level of sheer jack-assery being put on display by the DoJ in this case?

A.P.M.
10-16-2012, 04:31 PM
Ok, so I understand what happened now. Can someone explain to me how they think this will hurt writers? I see a lot of things being thrown around like "books will unedited and un-marketed" and a lot of flat statements that it will hurt everyone but Amazon, but I want something a little more concrete than that. Do people honestly think this will drive publishers out of business?

I can see how making less money on Ebooks will hurt publisher's profits, and I can see how less money means less in royalties for authors and fewer chances taken on newbie authors, but were the extra 2-3$ on Ebooks really making that much of a difference?

What if, since the books will be cheaper, customers will buy more of them? I for one have avoided buying ebooks in the past because I considered them overpriced.

I agree, this whole thing seems shady, but I am very interested in what people think this means for the future of publishing, if it means anything.

James D. Macdonald
10-16-2012, 04:54 PM
Do people honestly think this will drive publishers out of business?


Yes.

Publishing works on very narrow margins.

Most of their profit -- the money that pays for everything else -- comes from hardcover best-sellers. Amazon selling those same books at the same time at fire-sale prices has already been proved to kick the legs out from under publishers' income. The money that goes to finding and nurturing new authors included.

Where might this go? To there being one e-reader in the world: Kindle. To there being one publisher in the world: Amazon.

Could this possibly be good for authors? No.


What if, since the books will be cheaper, customers will buy more of them?

You can sell a great many five-dollar bills for twenty cents each without making a profit.

ios
10-16-2012, 05:26 PM
Where might this go? To there being one e-reader in the world: Kindle. To there being one publisher in the world: Amazon.

Could this possibly be good for authors? No.Just to come at it from an odd angle, if this does kill off the fiction arm of some of these publishers, then those that survive would be better off due to less competition. Anyway, I don't think commercial publishers are slated for extinction. In fact, I think print has more likelihood of being replaced by ebooks and ereaders than that--and I don't think that will happen in the foreseeable decades. It's just nowhere there yet.

Also, I don't think its legal in America to have just one company in control of all of publishing.

But I do think that if collusion occurred, it needed to nipped in the bud, for that is just as bad as selling less than cost to kill those who can't follow. And either one is bad for the industry in the end--and for the consumer--and generally is bad for the business itself. Certain unethical practices tend to come around and bite the user in the a** eventually. Only problem is they tend to destroy a lot of other things during that journey.

Jodi

GeekTells
10-16-2012, 09:17 PM
Jodi, I completely understand the kneejerk reaction of "collusion is bad," but it's simply not that simple in this case. For instance, it turns out (http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/cartoon-shows-doj-mistake-on-apple-publisher-antitrust-charge) that the DOJ's own guidelines allow for horizontal price fixing if it will, "create efficiencies in the operation of a market."

At the above link you'll find a story about a cartoon submitted as a brief in this case explaining that concept and several other places the DOJ got it wrong. It's merely the opinion of one IP expert, but it's compelling to me.

I think the reality is that your other assertions are not backed up by recent history, though this is certainly subjective. The collusion of the five publishers (with or without Apple's direct participation) resulted in a better, more interesting market for ebooks. As suggested in my lengthy post above, I believe the ebook experience today is better as a result of the industry breaking Amazon's monopoly power over the market. From my perspective, competition in the form of platform (i.e. software and hardware) is ultimately better than competition on price.

Lastly, James's point about Amazon's goal of being the only publisher and seller of ebooks on the planet is real. Even if one or two major publishers are left to compete with Amazon in the end, that will not be good for authors or readers.

Jamesaritchie
10-16-2012, 09:43 PM
Two publishers haven't settled:


Penguin Group (USA) Inc. (“Penguin”); and
Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, known as Macmillan (“Macmillan”).
The suit(s) is/are, in my opinion, meritless. No collusion or "price fixing" existed.



.

I certainly can't find a single example anyone can point to and say, "That is collusion, that is price fixing."

Jamesaritchie
10-16-2012, 09:47 PM
Just to come at it from an odd angle, if this does kill off the fiction arm of some of these publishers, then those that survive would be better off due to less competition.

Jodi

Even if it worked that way, and it seems unlikely, do you really think less competition of this kind is better for you, or for writers as a whole? For readers?

Who gains, other than a tiny few publishers, when this kind of competition is lost?

GeekTells
10-16-2012, 09:59 PM
I certainly can't find a single example anyone can point to and say, "That is collusion, that is price fixing."

The problem is that breakfast meeting I mentioned. That probably does amount to collusion. It's certainly a major piece of evidence in the DOJ's case, as I understand it. In that meeting, they agreed to move to the agency model as offered by Apple, and perhaps the DOJ thinks it can prove a price fixing component was also part of the meeting.

The other major thing is the over-night increase in best seller ebook prices once the agency model kicked in at Amazon.

That's all surface stuff, though. To me, Amazon's monopoly power and the anticompetitive nature of the company's dumping scheme warranted the move to the agency model championed by Apple. Turns out Mr. Holder didn't ask my opinion. :)



Even if it worked that way, and it seems unlikely, do you really think less competition of this kind is better for you, or for writers as a whole? For readers?

Who gains, other than a tiny few publishers, when this kind of competition is lost?

This!

ios
10-16-2012, 10:01 PM
As suggested in my lengthy post above, I believe the ebook experience today is better as a result of the industry breaking Amazon's monopoly power over the market. From my perspective, competition in the form of platform (i.e. software and hardware) is ultimately better than competition on price.

I guess I just feel to wrongs do not make a right. If they want to break up a monopoly, the ends do not justify the means. Do it ethically and legally. If collusion is allowed, then why is part of the case? And if the alleged actions took place, why hide the fact that legal collusion was going on? People don't hide things they are unashamed of. Sometimes it feels like, and I'm not pointing fingers here, that people overlook possible unethical and illegal happenings on one person's side just because they dislike the person they are fighting against.

I guess my point is 1) why is DOJ bringing it up if they don't think something is going on worth investigating and 2) if what these publishers are doing is wrong according the allegations, how are these alleged actions justified just because it makes price and competition better?



Lastly, James's point about Amazon's goal of being the only publisher and seller of ebooks on the planet is real. Even if one or two major publishers are left to compete with Amazon in the end, that will not be good for authors or readers.

When people mention this possibility, I think of Microsoft. Microsoft is not the only game out there. In fact, I heard it purposefully invested in Apple to help save it. Microsoft would only have done that if it would have helped Microsoft to have Apple out there. So, I think Amazon being the only e-game in town is a possibility, not "real," not a truth.

And what isn't good for authors doesn't mean it isn't good for publishers. Publishers are like most businesses, they care about the people involved in the chain to the extent it relates to business. It doesn't get down to the personal level. Publishers are out there to do business, not make life better for authors just because--and there is nothing wrong with this. Now I'm not saying having Amazon out there is good for publishing business, though, in a way it is--lotsa people buy books via it. But decreasing the number of rival publishers is likely good for a publisher because of decreased competition. That doesn't have to be good for the author, from the publisher's pov.

Jodi

ios
10-16-2012, 10:09 PM
Even if it worked that way, and it seems unlikely, do you really think less competition of this kind is better for you, or for writers as a whole? For readers?

Who gains, other than a tiny few publishers, when this kind of competition is lost?

It doesn't have to be good for the author, in general, from a publisher's pov; all that matters is if it is good for the publisher's business. The two can be exclusive to varying extents. That's the point I'm making. I'm not arguing it will be good for the author, because it won't be; I'm pointing out what can be good for the publisher does not have to be good for the author.

Jodi

GeekTells
10-16-2012, 10:27 PM
I guess I just feel to wrongs do not make a right. If they want to break up a monopoly, the ends do not justify the means. Do it ethically and legally. If collusion is allowed, then why is part of the case? And if the alleged actions took place, why hide the fact that legal collusion was going on? People don't hide things they are unashamed of. Sometimes it feels like, and I'm not pointing fingers here, that people overlook possible unethical and illegal happenings on one person's side just because they dislike the person they are fighting against.

I guess my point is 1) why is DOJ bringing it up if they don't think something is going on worth investigating

The DOJ isn't infallible—that's what trials are for. Apple and two of the five publishers are fighting the case. It remains to be seen what their defense will be.



2) if what these publishers are doing is wrong according the allegations, how are these alleged actions justified just because it makes price and competition better?

I'm not even sure what to make of this question. It sounds like you think restoring monopoly power to Amazon in the name of competition is a good thing. If so, we have arrived at the crux of our differing opinions.



When people mention this possibility, I think of Microsoft. Microsoft is not the only game out there. In fact, I heard it purposefully invested in Apple to help save it. Microsoft would only have done that if it would have helped Microsoft to have Apple out there. So, I think Amazon being the only e-game in town is a possibility, not "real," not a truth.

You may also remember that Microsoft was sued by the DOJ for antitrust violations. Microsoft lost that case and is a convicted monopoly abuser. The Bush administration punted on the remedy re-trial, but the watered-down remedies that were put into place are part of why we have browser competition today.

I noted above that the DOJ isn't infallible, but we had a trial in that case, too.


And what isn't good for authors doesn't mean it isn't good for publishers. Publishers are like most businesses, they care about the people involved in the chain to the extent it relates to business. It doesn't get down to the personal level. Publishers are out there to do business, not make life better for authors just because--and there is nothing wrong with this. Now I'm not saying having Amazon out there is good for publishing business, though, in a way it is--lotsa people buy books via it. But decreasing the number of rival publishers is likely good for a publisher because of decreased competition. That doesn't have to be good for the author, from the publisher's pov.

I agree that there have been upsides to Amazon's disruption of the publishing industry, but it's a mixed case. On weight, it appears clear to me that the downsides outweigh the upsides for authors and readers.

I am not interested in preserving competition among publishers for their sake. It's as a reader that I get most tense about this stuff. I love good books. I want great books. Good and great books require talented authors, agents, and editors. New authors need development and nurturing. Amazon's end-game threatens all of that, which means I will have far fewer good and great books to read.

GeekTells
10-16-2012, 10:29 PM
It doesn't have to be good for the author, in general, from a publisher's pov; all that matters is if it is good for the publisher's business. The two can be exclusive to varying extents. That's the point I'm making. I'm not arguing it will be good for the author, because it won't be; I'm pointing out what can be good for the publisher does not have to be good for the author.

I don't think anyone in this thread has been arguing from the publishing point of view.

ios
10-16-2012, 10:34 PM
I'm not even sure what to make of this question. It sounds like you think restoring monopoly power to Amazon in the name of competition is a good thing. If so, we have arrived at the crux of our differing opinions.

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I tend to meander. My point isn't about restoring the monopoly. Just like my point about good for business isn't about the author. It's about one very specific point.

My point is get rid of a monopoly legally and ethically. Doing it illegally and unethically does not make the action right. Doing it legally and ethically would hopefully prevent the monopoly being restored through legal cases. At this point my argument is hypothetical because we are dealing with allegations not a verdict.

Jodi

GeekTells
10-16-2012, 10:39 PM
Ah, I understand now. May I extrapolate that if the move to the agency model was found to be legal your concerns would be mitigated? At this point, I think only the trial will determine this.

Jamesaritchie
10-17-2012, 02:26 AM
It doesn't have to be good for the author, in general, from a publisher's pov; all that matters is if it is good for the publisher's business. The two can be exclusive to varying extents. That's the point I'm making. I'm not arguing it will be good for the author, because it won't be; I'm pointing out what can be good for the publisher does not have to be good for the author.

Jodi

Of course the two can be mutually exclusive, but I'm a writer and a reader, not a publisher, and I'm concerned about what's good for writers and readers. This is NOT it.

Nor, as I said, is this good for publishers, either, except maybe for the tiny minority that survive. No good ever comes from reducing the competition.

Though, for that matter, bad for the writers and bad for the readers IS going to be bad for the publishers. Who do you think keeps the publishers in business?

And there is no example here of monopoly, or of collusion, that anyone can point to. There is a DOJ power move that's easier and cheaper to give in to than to fight.

I suspect a lot of writers out there think this is good for them because it may be good for Amazon, and this definitely isn't true. I also suspect a lot of readers think this is suddenly going to make all eBooks as cheap as dirt. This isn't true, either, and also wouldn't, in the long run, be good for writers, or readers, if it were.

I do find it funny that teh argument often says "We don't want a monopoly, but we do want less competition."

GeekTells
10-17-2012, 03:12 AM
And there is no example here of monopoly, or of collusion, that anyone can point to.

Hey James, you've mentioned this a couple of times, prompting me to emphasize the meeting (collusion) and the overnight restoration of prices back to retail.

Keeping in mind that we are otherwise on the same page philosophically, do you not see that meeting as problematic for the publishers?

thothguard51
10-17-2012, 03:32 AM
As I read today in the Huffington Post, Books, Amazon is talking about offering e book buyers rebates on books bought from various publishers if this settlement holds. I think the rebate amount mentioned was anywhere from $.35 to $1.45 per book.

This makes me wonder Amazon then also reduce the amounts they owe the publishers, and in turn will the publishers then re-figure the amount they owe to the writers? In other words, are the writers going to be screwed yet again?

GeekTells
10-17-2012, 03:50 AM
As noted in the posts above, the money is coming from three publishers, and is only being distributed through Amazon, Apple, B&N, and whichever other ebook retailers are involved.

ios
10-17-2012, 04:24 AM
Of course the two can be mutually exclusive, but I'm a writer and a reader, not a publisher, and I'm concerned about what's good for writers and readers. This is NOT it.

:-D Which is why I prefaced my earlier post with "odd angle." I like to think about things from different angles just because it is fun and it helps me to see a bigger picture.


Nor, as I said, is this good for publishers, either, except maybe for the tiny minority that survive. No good ever comes from reducing the competition.

I actually agree, but I don't think businesses always do.


Though, for that matter, bad for the writers and bad for the readers IS going to be bad for the publishers. Who do you think keeps the publishers in business?

I don't see it as all equal signs. Readers have to read something; the selection can narrow, or maybe, the publishers will increase what they can put out (not to the levels that existed industry wide before the demise of hypothetical publisher). So the amount of writers, readers, and publishers might change, but it can find a new norm. I'm just speculating, here. I'm not saying I want this to happen, but I don't think such a shift can destroy the industry publishers or readers or writers.



And there is no example here of monopoly, or of collusion, that anyone can point to. There is a DOJ power move that's easier and cheaper to give in to than to fight.

See, I would be more inclined to agree no collusion or hinky stuff going on if part of the case did not include the hiding of alleged communications. Why hide what is perfectly legal and normal and every day? Until that is dismissed or explained away, I am inclined to believe something happened. That's just me. I can see the other side's point of view too that no alleged coverup attempts happened period.


I suspect a lot of writers out there think this is good for them because it may be good for Amazon, and this definitely isn't true. I also suspect a lot of readers think this is suddenly going to make all eBooks as cheap as dirt. This isn't true, either, and also wouldn't, in the long run, be good for writers, or readers, if it were.

I think these writers will have a sad wake-up call if they think of it only in terms of "good for Amazon." After all, I don't think Amazon can survive on self-pubbed works only under the current structure. There has to be a balance and good working relationship with the major players.

I do think it will be good for the industry to penalize criminal action if indeed criminal action occurred.

Jodi

ios
10-17-2012, 04:30 AM
Ah, I understand now. May I extrapolate that if the move to the agency model was found to be legal your concerns would be mitigated? At this point, I think only the trial will determine this.

Only in the context of why they would try to hide this action. (referencing Media Bistro link, on the hiding issue). I don't get why hide/cover up what is normal and legal. I'd like to know if this is a false allegation or a real one with basis.

Or do you mean retroactively decide it is legal? If so, I have to think on it. By that I mean, even it turned out to be legal, if they were hiding their actions, they must have been operating under the premise it wasn't legal and doing it anyway. In that case, I guess, it's just unethical, the great ocean of grey area ;-)

From a bystander's view only, I want a trial, that way we can have some kinda verdict.

.... or on second thought, before I get in too deep, I'm not sure I understand your question. You mean if DOJ decided there was no collusion? That is the main thrust of my arguments, the alleged collusion and alleged hiding of communications about it. If it turned out no collusion, no hiding, then I'd turn my wrath on party who instigated this whole thing and is wasting money, time, and hurting businesses that are doing legal, ethical business.

Jodi

ios
10-17-2012, 04:46 AM
I don't think anyone in this thread has been arguing from the publishing point of view.

Lol, I know, no one but me. But I'm weird that way. I like to see how it positively and negatively affects publishers, and I do this because I'm weird and I read way too many business books.

:-D

Jodi

GeekTells
10-17-2012, 04:52 AM
.... or on second thought, before I get in too deep, I'm not sure I understand your question. You mean if DOJ decided there was no collusion? That is the main thrust of my arguments, the alleged collusion and alleged hiding of communications about it. If it turned out no collusion, no hiding, then I'd turn my wrath on party who instigated this whole thing and is wasting money, time, and hurting businesses that are doing legal, ethical business.

What I meant was that if a trial determined that any collusion involved was legal, would that satisfy you? Earlier in the conversation, you had argued that all collusion is bad (forgive me if I paraphrase incorrectly), but more recently you implied the crux of your concern was the legality of the participants' actions.

At the center of my question was the friend-of-the-court brief I mentioned that argued the DOJ's antitrust guidelines allow for price fixing in some circumstances.

victoriastrauss
10-17-2012, 05:11 AM
1.) Amazon dumped Kindle best sellers in order to gain market share for the Kindle platform. This wasn't illegal since Amazon did not have a monopoly in books at the time, but it was a grand part of Amazon's strategy of putting brick and mortar (read: Barnes & Noble and Borders) retailers out of business.
An irony here is that Amazon's strategy as a retailer is in direct contradiction to its efforts to position itself as a publisher. Despite the meteoric growth of ebooks, print is still a major source of sales (even more in some markets than others) and the majority of print books are bought offline. As a publisher, Amazon needs the booksellers that it has alienated as a retailer. I wonder if anyone at Amazon is thinking about this.

- Victoria

GeekTells
10-17-2012, 05:39 AM
That's a terrific point I hadn't considered, but I wonder if Amazon actually cares? If Amazon can successfully marginalize print books and becomes both the publisher and retailer of of most ebooks, it would have a vertical lock on the market.

That would (not at all) coincidentally allow the company to finally make a real profit on books.

It's a very interesting point, Victoria.

ios
10-17-2012, 06:17 AM
What I meant was that if a trial determined that any collusion involved was legal, would that satisfy you? Earlier in the conversation, you had argued that all collusion is bad (forgive me if I paraphrase incorrectly), but more recently you implied the crux of your concern was the legality of the participants' actions.

At the center of my question was the friend-of-the-court brief I mentioned that argued the DOJ's antitrust guidelines allow for price fixing in some circumstances.

Thanks for the clarification. So, if it was legal, then my concerns will be satisfied for the most part.

The unsatisfied part that would be left is why the whole case came up in the first place. That is (1) was it a legitimate concern that could only be solved by DOJ deciding its legality--after the action? (In that case, I still worry about the ethics involved of companies allegedly hiding or destroying evidence--that is, why do it if they think they are above board? And why commit an action if they don't think they are above board?). Or (2) was it just one of those "crap lawsuits" and the point wasn't to win but to cause harm?

Those would be my lingering concerns. If the cover-up is also dismissed, then my concerns shift again.

Jodi