Apple and Several Big Publishers hit with Anti-trust Lawsuit:
April 11 (Reuters) - Apple Inc and several major publishers were accused by the U.S. government of conspiring to fix prices of e-books and limit retail price competition, according to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday.
"Apple facilitated the publisher defendants' collective effort to end retail price competition by coordinating their transition to an agency model across all retailers," according to the complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court by the anti-trust division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
The publishers include Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin Group, Pearson Plc and Simon & Schuster, a unit of CBS Corp.
My take: This is not good news for Independent publishers. No need to panic - the big change that allows the revolution to exist and flourish, namely that access to distribution is now open to all, is still in place and not going anywhere. But still... this is not a welcome lawsuit. The second best circumstance for Independents in the current landscape might be about to change.
The fact that traditional publishers want to collude in order to keep the prices of their e-books sky-high, is great for independents. Because that policy gives us something else beyond access: competitive advantage.
Competitive advantage in pricing goes a long way to make up for the fact that indies lack deep pockets for marketing and long standing relationships with traditional media outlets to celebrate and publicize our work.
If a government lawsuit allows Amazon and other retailers to slash the prices of authors people already know, the average reader will be less likely to sample those they don't.
Not the end of the world, of course, because access is EVERYTHING, and we've still got that. We can still blaze amazing paths with great books and hard work. But certainly this new development could be taking one big advantage away from the underdogs.
|Will screenshots like this be harder to come by in the future?|