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Old 06-26-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
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Pressure Mounting for Judge Cote to Reject E-Book Settlement

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2012...ok-settlement/

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Bookstore chain Books-A-Million and a group of independent publishers are two of the latest parties to come out against the proposed e-book price-fixing settlement between Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins and the Department of Justice.

According to Publishers Lunch, publishers Abrams Books, Chronicle Books, Grove/Atlantic, Chicago Review Press, New Directions Publishing, W.W. Norton, Perseus Books Group, The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group and Workman Publishing have signed a 28-page letter coming out against the settlement.
http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/b...doj-deal-.html

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Nine independent publishers have combined to file joint comments objecting to the pending settlements of the Department of Justice's lawsuit with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster related to e-book pricing. The publishers noted that while they continue to sell e-books under the wholesale model, they have “benefitted significantly”--along with authors, booksellers and consumers,-- from the ability of the Big Six publishers to adopt the agency pricing model with Amazon, since those arrangements, “contributed dramatically to increased competition and diversification in the distribution of e-books.”
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:55 AM   #2
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It's a reasonable argument. There's no doubt that the agency model reduces the ability of large sellers to dominate the market by undercutting the competition.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:08 AM   #3
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It's a reasonable argument. There's no doubt that the agency model reduces the ability of large sellers to dominate the market by undercutting the competition.
It's price fixing. But then, I really don't care how the decision goes. For non-essential goods and services, my preference is for providers to be allowed to charge anything they want. They should also be allowed to collude with one another as they going about setting up their pricing scheme. If this is objectionable to consumers, then don't buy it. After all, success or failure rests solely with them.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:10 AM   #4
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It's price fixing. But then, I really don't care how the decision goes. For non-essential goods and services, my preference is for providers to be allowed to charge anything they want. They should also be allowed to collude with one another as they going about setting up their pricing scheme. If this is objectionable to consumers, then don't buy it. After all, success or failure rests solely with them.
Yes, it is price fixing. But price fixing is not always necessarily a bad thing, and is not itself illegal.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:17 AM   #5
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Yes, it is price fixing. But price fixing is not always necessarily a bad thing, and is not itself illegal.
I don't care about the motives for price fixing; be they altruistic or simple greed. For non-essential goods and services, it should be allowed.

In relation to books, I don't care which stores succeed and which ones fail. Just keep the government out of it and let the market work its course.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:51 AM   #6
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It's a reasonable argument. There's no doubt that the agency model reduces the ability of large sellers to dominate the market by undercutting the competition.
The same could be said about the Corn Laws, and probably was.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:53 AM   #7
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Price fixing just encourages piracy. A lot of people will just roll over and pay the inflated prices, BUT more and more will just say to themselves "I'll just pirate it instead".
I'm not saying this is the right thing to do but once people get into the the habit of pirating stuff and find out how easy it is, you've pretty much lost them for good.

So no, I don't believe the market will sort itself out, or at least not until the damage is done and a lot of damage is already done.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:57 AM   #8
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the market is affected by people's actions as well, so i've always been a bit confused whenever people say that they will just leave it to the "market", which is made up of people anyway.

as for price fixing, i think there's an acceptable limit/price ceiling, though it differs with each person and their perceived value of the product. i never pirated books before and don't feel the need to since there are kindle ebook lending circles available. plus i've got hundreds on my tbr list anyway.
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:09 AM   #9
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When a market dominating group of 6 publishers meets and decides to implement an agency model (even starting on the same day!) and to raise consumer prices in the process, then that is illegal. And consumers were hurt, prices for bestsellers have increased significantly.

I agree with the monkey, let the market do its magic. Propping up some failing business models only hurts book buyers, the demise of the old distribution system is inevitable.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:01 AM   #10
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When a market dominating group of 6 publishers meets and decides to implement an agency model (even starting on the same day!) and to raise consumer prices in the process, then that is illegal.
Oh, I agree. But it's important to note that it's the cartel that's illegal, not the price fixing.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:42 AM   #11
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What do the people who want a judge to reject the current settlement actually want here? I mean, if three of the publishers decided to settle instead of pursuing the matter in court, surely no one's expecting a settlement that would actually be agreeable to them (or their industry)--or in their financial best interests--are they? Or are they saying the decision to settle should be ignored, dismissed, or what? I really don't get it. Which suggests to me it's posturing and nothing more. What would they suggest be done to the three publishers who voluntarily decided to submit to someone else's course of action in this matter?

I realize that the decision to settle doesn't carry any inherent admission of guilt, but surely it carries an acceptance that somebody else gets to dictate how you conduct your business for the next short while... and that you're probably not going to thrilled with the new short-term business plan?
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:12 AM   #12
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Yes, it is price fixing. But price fixing is not always necessarily a bad thing, and is not itself illegal.
It's not itself illegal, but I have yet to learn of a use case where it's not a bad thing.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:29 AM   #13
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It's not itself illegal, but I have yet to learn of a use case where it's not a bad thing.
We've already discussed at length the fact that many European countries impose fixed prices for books on the grounds that doing so benefits society.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:47 AM   #14
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We've already discussed at length the fact that many European countries impose fixed prices for books on the grounds that doing so benefits society.
We haven't determined that it actually does benefit society, or that that is why they actually continue to do it, or that it is not a bad thing.
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Old 06-26-2012, 08:55 AM   #15
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The DoJ has explicitly stated that agency pricing is legal, and should be allowed to continue.

Again, agency pricing levels the playing field for retailers, and the Big Six did not collude with Apple to drive small publishers out of business. It is legal for producers to set required prices on their goods. Agency pricing is not inherently anticompetitive.

The alleged illegal behavior was ultimately only in the collusion over the timing of the switch. That's why Random House is not being charged in the antitrust action, and is not required to change its pricing policies.

To put it another way: The publishers should not be prevented from using a legal pricing method as punishment for collusion, and the DoJ should not degrade competition (and inexplicably favor Amazon) in order to fix anti-competitive behavior.

If the publishers did in fact collude illegally, they should be fined and heavily supervised to prevent future collusion, much as is done in other antitrust actions.
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