If Apple loses the US case for alleged price-fixing, Amazon will be left in sole charge of the publishing industry
Amazon was certainly quick to rejoice, releasing a statement calling the settlement "a big win for Kindle owners", and saying that it looks forward "to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books".
Now I read ebooks, and I like bargains, but somehow I find myself slightly terrified by the news, and about the effect it is going to have on publishing. Whether or not the publishers colluded (three have settled, Penguin, Macmillan and Apple fight on) the fact is, as pointed out here, the publishers involved were making less money under the agency model than under Amazon, but made the change to support "an open and competitive market for the future", as Macmillan's CEO writes in a letter to authors.
The DoJ lawsuit plays, it seems to me, right into the hands of Amazon. Yes, we'll have cheaper books, but at what cost? Is it worth paying a little bit less for a title if it threatens the future existence of the publishers who are bringing us the books? Or will we be happy getting everything we read from a vastly reduced pool of presses?
Authors Guild president – and fantastic writer – Scott Turow says the US "government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition. This would be tragic for all of us who value books and the culture they support".
The ever-blunt publisher Dennis Johnson writes, "it was as if the government not only sanctified the Amazon monopoly, but they made sure it's going to get even more dominant".
Full story at The Guardian.