Monthly Archives: April 2012

Scott Turow on CBC News: “difficult to comprehend Justice Department’s seeming approval” when Amazon’s “aim was clearly to monopolize the e-book market”

In an eight-minute segment on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s nightly CBC News that aired yesterday, Scott Turow discussed Amazon’s tactic of selling bestselling e-books at a loss to lock up a 90% share of the e-book market.  He also took aim at publishers, saying “there should be a 50% royalty on net proceeds” for e-books, following established practices for the industry.  (See E-Book Royalty Math: The House Always Wins and The E-Book Royalty Mess: An Interim Fix for discussions of e-royalty rates.)

Scott Turow on Justice Department’s Proposed Settlement

The proposed settlement is a shocking trip through the looking-glass.  By allowing Amazon to resume selling most titles at a loss, the Department of Justice will basically prevent traditional bookstores from trying to enter the e-book market, at the same time it drives trade out of those stores and into the proprietary world of the Kindle.  The settlement provides a gigantic obstacle to Amazon’s competitors in the e-book business by allowing Amazon to function without making a profit, something that leaves that market forbidding to anyone else who might think of entering, and a bad business for those already there.

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Legal Documents: Justice Department’s Complaint and Proposed Settlement in E-Book Lawsuit

Here are the legal documents the Justice Department filed today.

Complaint
Proposed Settlement

A Message From John Sargent of Macmillan Regarding Justice Dept. E-Book Investigation

This message was just released from John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan, in response to the Department of Justice’s filing of a lawsuit claiming publishers colluded to fix e-book prices.

Dear authors, illustrators and agents:

Today the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Macmillan’s US trade publishing operation, charging us with collusion in the implementation of the agency model for e-book pricing. The charge is civil, not criminal. Let me start by saying that Macmillan did not act illegally.  Macmillan did not collude.

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Barnes & Noble to Restore Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books

Here’s some welcome news: Barnes & Noble has agreed to our request to bring Marshall Cavendish children’s books back to their stores’ shelves. By our count, more than 250 authors and 150 illustrators have been affected.

How these books got pulled in the first place is a lesson in how exclusive content agreements have begun balkanizing the book marketplace.

In December, Amazon Publishing purchased Marshall Cavendish’s children’s book list, more than 450 children’s and young adult titles. The next month, Barnes & Noble announced that it would not be stocking any Amazon published titles in its stores. B&N released a statement from Jaime Carey, its chief merchandising officer, saying that it would not stock books published by Amazon, “based on Amazon’s continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent.”

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