US Government Finally Realizes That Publishers & Apple Conspiring To Raise eBook Prices Is Price Fixing

from the well,-duh... dept

Almost exactly two years ago, when the big publishers, along with Apple, effectively forced Amazon to allow the publishers to jack up prices on ebooks, I noted that this looked like a classic case of price fixing. Apparently, the US government agrees — and found enough evidence to go after the publishers and Apple for price fixing. There are settlement talks ongoing, but if they fall through, the government is likely to sue. This probably means that we’ll start seeing some lower prices on ebooks. Of course, the stupid thing is that these super high ebook prices have probably hurt the market more than helped. Lots of indie authors have experimented with ebook pricing, and found that the sweet spot for maximizing revenue is often under $5. So while big publishers may have been getting more per sale, it seems likely they were leaving a ton of money on the table by limiting the size of their ebook market with prices that were just too high.

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Companies: amazon, apple

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Comments on “US Government Finally Realizes That Publishers & Apple Conspiring To Raise eBook Prices Is Price Fixing”

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27 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

dont you know ????

EVERYTHING in America is a conspiracy, they are all out to “get you!!”…

also it would be a “Cartel” not a conspiracy…

if your Government does “sue” (??) a group to force them to conform to a certain price, that is “price fixing”.

In the free world you are allowed to vary the price of your product dependent on what you believe the market will bear.

That is a fundamental principle of economics, Masnick do you know what that word means ?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

IMO it will be a medium to low smackdown. First, APPL is just to important to the “economy” these days. Second, this countries first concern, Israel and their central bank, have been Buying up the Stock like a Mother Fucker

The DOJ will not do a thing that will seriously hurt Israel or the world wide ponzi scheme we have come to expect as normal.

APPL to the moon

Coward (Anon) says:

Re:

I’m tired of this whine. In China most people have 2 options: work in a sweatshop or you and you’re family starve to death. You can’t compare work conditions in China to work conditins in a first world country. Yes it would be better if everyone in the world worked short hours for high pay in a comfortable enviroment, but it ain’t gonna happen with seismic shifts in China’s government and economy.

Plus this comment has nothing to do with the story about Apple and book publishers colluding to fix prices. This problem exists with Amazon, Sony, and all of the other ebook makers. Nothing to do with China or working conditions.

Coward (Anon) says:

Re:

Maybe you should read the original article or do some background reading on why ebooks are priced the way they are. The publishers all got together and agreed that if Apple and the other ebook makers didn’t agree to a new business model (the agency model) that allows the publishers to exclusively set the pricing, all of the publishers would refuse to sign new contracts with Apple and the others. That’s the legal definition of price-fixing and collusion, both of which are illegal in the US.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re:

You want free market capitalism? Abolish IP and all other anti competitive laws. Abolish govt established broadcasting and cableco monopolies and abolish govt established taxi cab, mailbox delivery, and electricity delivery monopolies.

Can’t have it both ways. Give them a monopoly and reasonably regulate it or take away their monopoly privileges.

Gerald Robinson (profile) says:

eBook price fixing

An eBook is far less expensive for the publisher than paper book, there is no bases for the greedy pricing except stupidity and Apple’s incompetence.

The publishers make far far more on an eBook than a paper book. Yes there are constant costs of editing which is the same although it seems to be getting much sloppier recently. But there are huge costs that eBooks don’t incur: the obvious is printing and the publishers aver that it is minor (given the low quality of even hard backs today that may be so), but there is transportation, promotion (extra discounts on best sellers etc.), cataloging and inventory, shrinkage; none of which apply to eBooks. Yes there is the cost of format conversion but there are apps for that and many are free.

Boycott Apple!

The publishers are hurting themselves and their authors. If I find an interesting eBook

Narcissus (profile) says:

Re: eBook price fixing

Although I buy a big amount of books, I refuse to buy an e-book that is priced higher than the physical version. To me that’s nonsense, whatever they spend on editing.

And I agree with you fully that editing seems to be much sloppier now. I’m far from being a grammar nazi but in the average e-book you’ll encounter a sizeable amount of grammmar- and spelling mistakes. It does take away from the experience…

Narcissus (profile) says:

Re: eBook price fixing

Although I buy a big amount of books, I refuse to buy an e-book that is priced higher than the physical version. To me that’s nonsense, whatever they spend on editing.

And I agree with you fully that editing seems to be much sloppier now. I’m far from being a grammar nazi but in the average e-book you’ll encounter a sizeable amount of grammmar- and spelling mistakes. It does take away from the experience…

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