Monday, April 23, 2012
Justice Department vs Apple and Publishers
Original Article: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/11/justice-files-suit-against-apple-and-publishers-over-e-book-pricing/?ref=media
Follow up by Columnist: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/16/business/media/amazon-low-prices-disguise-a-high-cost.html
Breakdown(have no clue who this is, but was referred to it by several authors and it is a good read): http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/the-worst-article-about-the-ebooks-anti-trust-suit/
And now my 2 cents.
It is about time. While Amazon was quite likely under pricing that really has to be argued on a case by case basis since we don’t have a scale by which to judge a minimum price. However if you can say that they were then you can definitely say the big 6 are over pricing a great many if not most. I ran into several books that were 20 year old best sellers that they were trying to sell at $20 to $50 dollars.
1) Not a hard back.
2) 20 years old!!!
3) Bite me.
Rather than find a happy medium apple gave them cart blanche because they had no reason to care about the outcome either way as long as they could sell to their customers. And it also made for more friendly considerations. That little Apple back stab to readers allowed them to force price fixing(often over the actual cost of the last printed copy). On top of the fact of contracts being just vague enough to apply to the new medium often preventing an author from self-publishing a re-release or contracting to have it done.
I just hope something GOOD comes out of this because there are a lot of ways things could become much worse.
Another thing while I can't deny that Amazon's ability to under price has a lot to do with not maintaining store fronts I cannot agree this is solely the reason why many are going out of business. The land scape has been changing and would change over time even if we didn't have someone as big as Amazon. Proof is in just how the various markets changed before said Amazon. Book stores long ago move from selling just books to selling other items, adding cafes, to giving incentives like free wifi. I would say in the case of books their biggest limiters have been the publishing comapines themselves. They seemed to forget that they did have a symbosis with brick and morter stores. One that they are effectively choking off.
The other part falls on the stores themselves as it is up to them to provide the value(as I've pointed out they've had to do in the past) to keep them going. Some do, but it is kind of haphazzardly handled. Story readings, lauch events, etc are a short list of things that have proven effective, but are rarely used. Many authors still do signing and such. You can't put up a token effort and expect people to come flocking in or take time out of an already full schedule to come in. Value isn't only it the price of what you sale, but in everything you can give to the customer to shop with you.