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.

Today’s low Kindle book prices will last only as long as it takes Amazon to re-establish its monopoly.  It is hard to believe that the Justice Department has somehow persuaded itself that this solution fosters competition or is good for readers in the long run.

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