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They offered to let Amazon and other retailers to sell ebooks at a discount for two years

An Apple ebook deal may be in the works after a long 10 months of investigation by the European Union (EU).

Apple and four major publishers that are being investigated have started offering antitrust concessions in an effort to ward off fines and further trouble. The four publishers are Harper Collins (News Corp., U.S.A.), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., U.S.A.), Hachette Livre (Lagardère Publishing France) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany).

Penguin (Pearson Group, United Kingdom) is also being investigated, but did not submit a proposal.

One offer from Apple and the four publishers was to allow Amazon and other retailers to sell ebooks at a discount for two years. The Commission is now looking into whether these concessions are enough by taking opinions from the industry.

Last December, the European Commission opened a formal antitrust investigation into whether the five international e-book publishers had been practicing anti-competitive tactics with the help of Apple and its e-book store iBooks. More specifically, the Commission wanted a closer look at the agency pricing model that the publishers adopted with Apple, which allows publishers to set a price for their ebooks and Apple takes a 30 percent cut. However, the publishers can't sell those same books on other retail sites like Amazon for a lower price.

This was not only seen as anticompetitve by the European Commission, but also the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). DOJ sued Apple and the publishers in April 2012 over the agency pricing model.

Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Livre decided to settle the case with the U.S. DOJ. However, Apple, Penguin and Macmillan have decided to fight the antitrust case.

The U.S. bench trial in the Apple e-book case will start June 3, 2012.

Source: Reuters



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RE: Apple should have ZERO input on this.
By Tony Swash on 8/31/2012 6:26:00 PM , Rating: 0
Call me naive but I always thought anti-monopoly legislation was supposed to be there to protect against monopolies. Amazon has a monopoly share of the e-book market.

Apple's attempt to break Amazon's monopoly is supported in the US by the Authors Guild, The American Booksellers Association (ABA), and amongst many others, the following regional booksellers associations: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association, New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association, New England Independent Booksellers Association, New Orleans-Gulf South Booksellers Association, Northern California Independent Booksellers Association, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, Southern California Independent Booksellers Association, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.

Following the start of the ridiculous DOJ case in the US (which mirrors the eqaully silly EU one) ABA head Oren Teicher released a statement revealing that he led a contingent of ABA executives to Washington, D.C. to meet with DOJ officials “to convey just how important the agency model is for the health of the book industry and a truly competitive marketplace …”

Teicher’s statement is an eloquent one, and worth quoting at length:

quote:
As we understand it, the investigation is not questioning the legality of the agency model, but, rather, whether it was arrived at in an illegal manner. The critical point we made to DOJ was that any attempts on the government’s part to remedy any alleged wrongdoing must not end the agency model, which has created a more competitive marketplace.

Since the introduction of the agency model, the market has become not less competitive, but, rather, far more competitive. There is much more competition in the retail sector, as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, Kobo, and indie booksellers have all entered the market, offering consumers many more choices. There is also far more competition among publishers, which are now regularly offering special promotional offers, with lower-priced titles. In our channel, we have seen that the average prices to booksellers and to consumers have dropped since the introduction of the agency model.

Before the introduction of the agency model, a single online retailer was selling e-books significantly below cost, dominating this nascent market, and rapidly growing readership in their proprietary format. It may be that their intent was to capture this market not only for book purchases, but, perhaps more importantly, to sell these consumers products from the full range of other online product offerings — everything from lawn furniture to flat-screen TVs. As many analysts have noted, the losses that online retailers have been willing to accept on book sales by selling below cost can be seen from another perspective as nothing more than shrewd ongoing customer acquisition costs.

In our meeting with DOJ, we argued strongly that if the agency model goes away, there is every reason to conclude that major online retailers will again use considerable resources to dominate — and ultimately monopolize — the market, and that, in a relatively short amount of time, consumers will have a radical reduction in choice when it comes to purchasing books in both digital and print formats. The market will be far less competitive on all levels, and this stark reality will adversely affect the health of the entire publishing ecosystem. In the end, we believe, it will mean a far less diverse range of titles being published and a much diminished range of publishers.


Just because you are not a fan of Apple does mean you have to swallow any old shite.


RE: Apple should have ZERO input on this.
By Kyuu on 8/31/2012 7:54:41 PM , Rating: 2
Okay: you're naive (or more likely just blindly on the side of Apple, given your posting habits).

This has nothing to do with "protecting" the customer. It has everything to do with publishers protecting their legacy business models and vehemently opposing anything that might cut into their profits. How has the customer benefited from the agency model (in addition to Apple's favoured nation clause)? Lots of choices of booksellers... who all charge the same (inflated) prices? Wow that's so awesome. How could I not want that?


RE: Apple should have ZERO input on this.
By Tony Swash on 8/31/12, Rating: -1
By BifurcatedBoat on 8/31/2012 9:24:20 PM , Rating: 2
Then, at that point in time, somebody will start up DiscountEBooks.com to compete with Amazon's monopoly, and we're back in business. That's how capitalism is intended to work.


By croc on 9/1/2012 1:18:18 AM , Rating: 2
E-book market got 'disrupted' by Apple's entry. Consumer's prices for e-books went up. Them's the facts, spin away.


"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)














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