The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of TalkPath, LLC. Please get involved in the conversation comments (if you want) and check out the predecessor to this story DOJ to Sue Apple
Is it wrong for the publishing houses to want to make more off of the booming eBook industry? No. Absolutely not, because after all companies are in it to make money and that’s okay. The publishing companies were given an offer by Apple to raise their prices and make more off the sales of their eBooks. That’s acceptable, understandable, and I’m okay with that.
What is not acceptable is the idea that the “Big 5” publishers all got together and went to Amazon, demanding that they raise their prices or they would pull their books from the Kindle store. That’s some Tony Soprano business right there – and even if you don’t agree with that, you can at least agree that it’s collusion.
While Scott Turow says things like “our government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition”. Sorry Scott, but can you explain to me how it is considered competition to demand all similar companies charge the same price or they would no longer provide inventory?
Imagine for a moment if you are a used car dealer and sell your product below the Kelly Blue Book value of the car. Everyone comes to your dealership because they know you are going to give them the best deal without fancy markups for washing, waxing, or leather seats. You get a car, which after all, that’s what you wanted to get there in the first place. Enter your competitor that goes to the major manufacturers of car dealerships and says, “Okay, we’ll go to the agency price and we take our cut. Sure, your customer will pay more, but that’s what you want anyway.” (Kindle World Blog)
The next thing you know, the car manufactures are on your doorstep telling you to raise your prices or they will pull their inventory.
Is that competition? No, in fact, that sounds a lot like coercion.
The eBook suit is not a “Napster-like” issue. Napster was different – with Napster, the public was taking copy written content and putting them online for download via a robust peer to peer network. This meant that the royalties due for what could have been a sale were never paid. No one is stealing anything from publishers and writers, and if anything, I (and much of the population) buy more books now than we ever did before. Why? Because it’s easier to get our hands on books we want to read.
Self-publishing has changed the face of the game and given the small “unsigned” author a chance to get out in front of people who want to buy what they are selling. Look at Justin Beiber who was relatively unknown until Usher happened across one of his YouTube videos. Now, you can’t go anywhere without seeing his face and haircut everywhere. Amazon has a chance to be the kind of outlet like YouTube for authors. Authors are now dreaming of the right person coming across their book in the Kindle Store at the right time and taking it to the next step.
No one is buying fewer books because Amazon created the Kindle and charged $9.99 / book. People are buying fewer books because they have to pony up $25-$30 bucks for a hardcopy if they want it the day it comes out. Once it’s read, guess what, it’s probably going to sit on the shelf and gather dust. I’m sorry, but hardback books, at least from this consumer’s point of view have become a complete waste of money. I haven’t bought a physical book in over a year but I have made a number of purchases on my Kindle – books and authors I would have never given a second look to while having to navigate my way through a book store.