by Jill Pantozzi | 4:16 pm, January 17th, 2014
by Susana Polo | 2:46 pm, July 10th, 2013
I can’t blame you if you haven’t been following the Department of Justice’s suit against Apple and (originally) five other book publishers for price fixing in the eBook market. It’s kind of arcane and weird, but it’s an arcane and weird thing that may affect the entire electronic book market, and if you’re the kind of book reader who looks at gamers flipping out about DRM that places unreasonable requirements on the user and thinks “there but for the grace of God go I,” you might want to pay attention. Just in case.READ MORE
by Susana Polo | 11:46 am, February 21st, 2013
The new and growing market for eBooks has allowed companies to call into question some of the basic and universal characteristics of reading and owning books. That you can loan them to your friends, for example, or that by purchasing a book you’re also purchasing the ability to read it whenever you want, wherever you want, until you lose it, donate it, give it away, or wear through its well-loved spine.
eBook publishers have, to put it mildly, established that these are qualities of a book that they do not intend to carry over to the new format, which is to a certain extent fine, so long as consumers know what they’re getting into. But the eBook market also has other problems, namely accusations of price fixing, and, due to the combination of software that limits the kind of device a given eBook can be read on and the dominance of the Kindle over the eReader market, bullying tactics. A new lawsuit filed by three independent bookstores is looking to strike at the heart of the problem: the insistance of eReader makers that their books should not be readable on other devices.READ MORE
by Susana Polo | 2:05 pm, February 7th, 2013
If I say the phrase “space marine,” you probably know what I’m talking about, right? Halo, Aliens, Starship Troopers, Starcraft… highly trained men and women equipped with oversized future weaponry, a thirst for alien blood, and a disdain for intellectual pursuits (except for that one guy… there’s always that one guy). It’s a name that writers and readers of science fiction have been using to describe a kind of character since Heinlein.
“Space marine” is also a registered trademark of Games Workshop, the publishers of the Warhammer 4000 strategy games, and you’d think that in deference to the history of the term and the sources that inspired the genre in which Warhammer is set, they wouldn’t throw their weight around too much on its account. But as author M.C.A. Hogarth found last year, and the writing community found out this week, you’d be wrong.READ MORE
by Jill Pantozzi | 4:00 pm, January 19th, 2013
Not quite sure e-readers are for you? They are a significant expense after all, and not everyone is ready to leave those delicious smelling pages behind. But you’re in luck if you live near Bexar County in Texas. They’re about to open the nation’s first bookless public library system.READ MORE
by Susana Polo | 11:03 am, May 2nd, 2012
When the Department of Justice announcing an investigation and subsequent suit against Apple and five other eBook publishers for price fixing, Amazon, the 1k pound gorilla of the eBook market and the biggest eBook publisher not named in the suit, immediately lowered its eBook pricing, by as much as a third in some cases. See, the way it works is, Amazon is using the market dominance of its Kindle (60% of the eReader market) to set prices lower than many publishers consider profitable, in an effort to collect even more of the market. Apple, alternatively, takes 30% of any eBook sales on iBooks, and requires any publisher they work with to never sell an eBook for less than the price they sell for iBooks. Are both attempts to create prices based on something other than immediate, per-book profitability? Yes. Are both of them at odds with each other and bad for physical book sellers? Yup.
Today, however, saw one of the weirder ways this fight is playing out, namely in the removal of all Amazon brand hardware from their stores.READ MORE
Anti-Trust Suit Against Ebook Publishers That Aren’t Amazon Announced; Amazon Immediately Lowers Ebook Prices
by Susana Polo | 2:09 pm, April 12th, 2012
Just a month ago we were talking about the shady things Amazon.com does to use its 60% of the ebook market muscle to make smaller publishers lower prices against their better judgement. We were also talking about how the US Department of Justice had announced that it would be investigating six of Amazon’s competitors in ebook publishing (Apple, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, the Penguin Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins) for colluding to set prices in the ebook market. Well, it only took about a month for the DoJ to announce that they had indeed found, in their opinion, enough evidence to prove that the six were trying to fix prices. And it took less than a day for Amazon.com to, seemingly coincidentally, announce plans to push down pricing on its ebooks, from $15 to $10 in some cases.READ MORE
by Jamie Frevele | 4:58 pm, April 5th, 2012
by Susana Polo | 11:54 am, March 8th, 2012
And we were just talking about Amazon throwing its weight around to get small publishers to lower their ebook pricing even if they think it would be financially against their interests… now the US Department of Justice has warned Apple, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, the Penguin Group, Macmillan, and HarperCollins that it will be investigating them for possible violations of Anti-Trust Law in their pricing of eBooks.
The case rests on the rules Apple set down for how publishers would be required to publish their books to the iPad, and some significant differences between their rules and the way publishers interact with physical retailers.READ MORE
by Susana Polo | 2:53 pm, February 29th, 2012
Amazon is sitting pretty at the top of the pecking order of the eReader market, in part because its spot atop the online retail market gives it the freedom to set Kindle prices low. Lower, in fact, than most other eReader formats; in a world where the Kindle takes 60% of the market in ebooks and is getting perilously synonymous with an electronic device dedicated to reading print publications. This means that when the company decides it doesn’t like that its affiliates want to charge more for their books, they can simply refuse to make some perfectly compatible ebooks unavailable on the platform, with devastating results to that publisher.
“This should be a matter of concern and a cautionary tale for the smaller presses whose licenses will come up for renewal,” said Andy Ross, an agent and a former bookseller. “They are being offered a Hobson’s choice of accepting Amazon’s terms, which are unsustainable, or losing the ability to sell Kindle editions of their books, the format that constitutes about 60 percent of all e-books.”