I read this Steve Forbes’ Fact & Comment piece about the justice deprtment’s lawsuit against Apple (and book publishers) over e-book pricing in a recent issue of Forbes. I normally agree with much of what Mr. Forbes says but not this time.
The agreement among Apple and five publishers allowed the publishers to set the price of their wares in Apple’s eBookStore; in return Apple would get a very rich 30% slice of the revenues. These publishers agreed not to sell their e-books at lower prices elsewhere. The deal meant that participating publishers would have to persuade Amazon to charge the Apple price or forgo selling their books on Amazon, which happens to be a humongous marketplace.
I understand what Forbes is saying but, isn’t this considered price fixing? What gives Apple the right to tell publishers that they can’t sell their books for less elsewhere? What’s to stop Walmart or Target from doing the same thing?
I know publishers need to make money but I think it is pure craziness to have to pay nearly the same price for an e-book as a physical copy of the book.
One last thing before we leave this topic. Check this out (bold mine):
Traditional publishers are fighting for survival. Authors can sell their writings directly online, with no middleman necessary. Amazon, in fact, happens to have a burgeoning service to help these scribblers do just that.
What’s up with calling authors who bypass traditional publishers “scribblers”? How many highly successful books were passed up by traditional publishers? Hmmm…