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Old 07-01-2013, 06:22 PM   #1
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Clear overview of price war lawsuit

Laura Miller's overview of Amazon, Apple & publishers lawsuit is in today's Salon, "Everything You Need to Know about the E-book Price War."
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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But for the Big Six publishers, this “defeat” has a surprising upside. They appear to have achieved much of what they wanted in the first place, which was not money but a more competitive e-book market and more control over the prices (and perceived value) of their books. Amazon has ceded 30 percent of the e-book market to competitors, and now buys most of the Big Six’s books on agency terms. The prices of popular Kindle titles, especially New York Times Best Sellers are either identical to those in the iBookstore, or at most a dollar cheaper. And as Albanese pointed out recently in Publishers Weekly, even the payouts to consumers mandated by the settlements have a silver lining: The “monies — nearly $175 million in total … will be issued almost entirely as credits to e-book consumers’ accounts, meaning those funds will flow back to the publishers, almost like a court-ordered promotion.” Sometimes you can’t lose for winning.
What about the consumers? Did they "win" too?
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Old 07-01-2013, 07:02 PM   #3
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How is this news with no link?

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/01/ever...ook_price_war/
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Interesting article. I tend to agree that the publishers came out ahead.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:38 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
What about the consumers? Did they "win" too?
That one sounds like a (premature) celebration of all the ways they got to screw over consumers.

And it is so blinded by Amazon-hate it attributes to the price fix something that had happened *before* the conspiracy. 30% Amazon losses due to Agency? Baloney! Nook was running well over 20% *before* Agency kicked in.
http://mashable.com/2010/06/29/barnes-and-noble-4q/
From June 2010, reporting 2009 sales:
Quote:
Most notably, Barnes & Noble has gained 20% of the e-book market in just the last year, CEO William Lynch revealed in an investor conference this morning.

The Nook is primarily responsible for driving those e-book sales, he added. In a statement yesterday, Chairman Leonard Riggio claimed that customers who have purchased the Nook have increased their overall spending with the company by 17%.

Barnes & Noble's share of the digital market now exceeds its share of the retail book market, Lynch announced.
Add in Sony, Kobo, and the independents now gone and you get the "magical 30% Amazon is supposed to have lost due to Agency. Truth is Amazon has lost nothing in ebook share since early 2010. (They have, however, *won* a lot in readers and tablets.)

All the added "competitiveness" the BPHs claim to see from the Apple side is coming out of the Nook and indie side of the ledger, not Amazon.
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:14 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tubemonkey View Post
What about the consumers? Did they "win" too?
AFAIK they are, on average, paying less, in real dollars, than in the past, and are getting the books in a form factor they prefer.

Now, it is also true that the publishers are doing well profit-wise, with Random House having a record fifteen percent margin last year.

The authors may be the ones who are doing the worst:

http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-n...ook-royalties/

`
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:18 PM   #7
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AFAIK they are, on average, paying less, in real dollars, than in the past, and are getting the books in a form factor they prefer.
Not this consumer. Almost all the books I would buy (MMPB versions) are still at the fixed cover price, where before I could get regular discounts between 15%-30% regularly at Fictionwise.

I think the consumers who - on average - are paying less are the ones who gave up on the Big 6 books and started buying the indi crap.
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:28 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
That one sounds like a (premature) celebration of all the ways they got to screw over consumers.

And it is so blinded by Amazon-hate it attributes to the price fix something that had happened *before* the conspiracy. 30% Amazon losses due to Agency? Baloney! Nook was running well over 20% *before* Agency kicked in.
http://mashable.com/2010/06/29/barnes-and-noble-4q/
From June 2010, reporting 2009 sales:


Add in Sony, Kobo, and the independents now gone and you get the "magical 30% Amazon is supposed to have lost due to Agency. Truth is Amazon has lost nothing in ebook share since early 2010. (They have, however, *won* a lot in readers and tablets.)

All the added "competitiveness" the BPHs claim to see from the Apple side is coming out of the Nook and indie side of the ledger, not Amazon.
The numbers are bogus. Amazon is not releasing numbers. So there is no way to know what's actually correct. Sony, Kobo, Independents adding up to only 10% is too low a number to be believed. I'm sorry, but I do not believe articles like that.

When you take into account B&N, Sony, Kobo, and other Readers (no tablets), I would think (IMHO) that they would total to more then 30% (in just the US but add in Canada and the Amazon numbers are most likely lower).
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:36 AM   #9
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The numbers are bogus. Amazon is not releasing numbers. So there is no way to know what's actually correct. Sony, Kobo, Independents adding up to only 10% is too low a number to be believed. I'm sorry, but I do not believe articles like that.

When you take into account B&N, Sony, Kobo, and other Readers (no tablets), I would think (IMHO) that they would total to more then 30% (in just the US but add in Canada and the Amazon numbers are most likely lower).
The B&N numbers from 2010 were part of a conference call. If they are bogus, the SEC would very much like to hear about it.

The point isn't the numbers per-se, but rather the apologists' repeated attempt to portray Apple as having taken market share (from Amazon, instead of the epub crowd) through conspiracy as a *good* thing.

They've got Amazon on the brain and willfully ignore all the evidence that Amazon is the *only* player (besides Apple) that *wasn't* hurt by the conspiracy.

Consumers buying the agency titles were ripped off to the tune of 30-50%, authors got lower royalties, and the publishers have the legal fees and five years of federal oversight over their heads; no amount of spin and FUD is making that into a good thing for *anybody*.
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:04 AM   #10
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The B&N numbers from 2010 were part of a conference call. If they are bogus, the SEC would very much like to hear about it.
The thing is, with the numbers, there's no way to be sure if they are correct or not and (IMHO), I just thing they are wrong as they don't make much sense.

Quote:
Consumers buying the agency titles were ripped off to the tune of 30-50%, authors got lower royalties, and the publishers have the legal fees and five years of federal oversight over their heads; no amount of spin and FUD is making that into a good thing for *anybody*.
There is a new problem that plagues consumers. Given that the BPHs are basing the eBook prices on the cost of the lowest price pBook, they've taken to trying to do away with the MMPB and go for other really awful paperback formats so they can get away with raising the price and thus keeping the eBook price artificially inflated.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:30 AM   #11
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Not this consumer. Almost all the books I would buy (MMPB versions) are still at the fixed cover price, where before I could get regular discounts between 15%-30% regularly at Fictionwise.
It partly depends on your starting point.

In 2002, the average hardcover fiction price paid* by Michigan public libraries was $26.86. I presume those sales were mostly of recently released books. If you compare to the consumer price of recently released fiction, in a form factor (eBook) that people on this board commonly say they like a lot more, I'd say prices have gone down alot. Now, the price the library pays hasn't gone down, which is a separate (although more important to me) issue.

The reason I mention hardcover in the paragraph above is that, in 2002, there was more of a gap in time between hardback and paperback release. The fact that you can now get a paperback of a fairly new bestseller is another indication of declining book prices for consumers.

If your starting point is when loss leader pricing, presumably to goose eReader adoption, was common, it will look different. But loss leader pricing can't last.


______________
* I may be misinterpreting the chart, as it is unclear to me if it reflects common discounts. But I think the point -- that eBooks have lowered consumer prices -- holds. Also, the real comparison point for many would be the historical price of a large print paper book, making the price reduction from the eBook revolution even more impressive.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 07-02-2013 at 07:34 AM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 07:51 AM   #12
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The primary way that ebooks have lowered the cost of reading is through indie and backlist titles. With 20-25% of all indie sales running in the $2.99-6.99 range it brings the oft-quoted average selling price for ebooks down. As the feds showed for the trial, once you exclude Indie titles from the tally, ebook prices *increased* as a result of the price fix conspiracy and stayed higher for the duration of the fix.

Now, the average retail prices of BPH titles *have* declined...
...in the last nine months, *after* they dropped Agency.

There will be a further decline now that the Random Penguin Solutions merger has kicked in and the Random House titles are set to leave Agency.

Agency did no favors to buyers of BPH titles but it did wonders for many indie publishers.
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Old 07-02-2013, 08:40 AM   #13
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What on earth does that have to do with my experience as a consumer?

Quote:
Also, the real comparison point for many would be the historical price of a large print paper book, making the price reduction from the eBook revolution even more impressive.
If you are bending over backwards to try to make the facts fit your point of view, sure.
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:43 AM   #14
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What about the consumers? Did they "win" too?
No one cares about consumers silly monkey!
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:50 AM   #15
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BTW, a link to the article mentioned in the O.P. - http://www.salon.com/2013/07/01/ever...ook_price_war/

I'm not sure how "Clear" it is but there it is. I'm kinda sick or hearing about it all and all the arguments and finger pointing. I'm just hoping the judge makes her decision and announces it soon....

Last edited by kennyc; 07-02-2013 at 09:53 AM.
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