Updates to the Apple-eBook publishers price fixing story

by Sheila J Tofflemire on Monday, December 19, 2011, 9:00 am

in News,Publishing,Trends

I’d posted about this here and wondered how it could be considered price fixing.

The following makes it clearer that it most certainly sounds like price fixing:

An agreement between six major publishers has seen prices rocket for many books worldwide – some of which are more expensive than the paper version.

The agreement includes major publishing houses such as HarperCollins and Penguin.

The agreement reportedly forbids retailers from discounting eBooks without a publisher’s permission. […]

Steve Jobs reportedly did not want Apple’s iBook store to compete with Amazon’s cheap prices, and helped brokered the deal between publishers.

The European Commission is investigating claims that Apple and the five publishing houses worked together to keep eBook prices artificially high.

It is also suggested that the arrangement killed competition by ensuring that Appleā€™s rivals, such as Amazon and Kobo, could not undercut its prices.

Not only does it sound like price fixing, it’s just plain stupid. And publishers who banded together to make this deal have shot themselves in the collective foot. Publishers hate eBooks, but they’d better get used to the fact that eBooks are here to stay. The key to remaining viable in an industry that is rapidly changing is to adapt along with the times.

I started my career in photography back in the 80s when it was still the days of film and processing. When digital came along, professional photographers either had to adapt or find a new profession. Traditional publishing houses are going to find they’ll have to do the same. Fixing the price of eBooks is not adapting to the market; it’s trying to control it.

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