Jul
10
2013

Hey, did you notice how Kindle ebook prices suddenly dropped a couple of bucks?

Yeah, it was very sweet: Amazon.com apparently got together with the major publishers and they all agreed that the smartest thing to do about this entire electronic publishing thing was to admit that e-books were simply cheaper than dead-tree versions and that pricing should reflect that, because it’s the reader that they’re all here to serve and yes, I’m just bullshitting you; the publishers all settled out of court because the Mighty Antitrust Hammer of Maximum Fun was descending upon all of their heads.  But not Apple!  Apple decided to stay and fight it out.

Silly, silly Apple.

In a decision that could reshape how books are sold on the Internet, a federal judge ruled that Apple Inc conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books in violation of antitrust law, and called for a trial on damages.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan is a victory for the U.S. government and various states, which the judge said are entitled to injunctive relief.

Apple had been accused of colluding with five publishers to boost e-book prices beginning in late 2009, as the Silicon Valley giant was preparing to launch its popular iPad tablet.

Via Hot Air.  The ironic part is, I prefer the iPad to the Kindle Fire when it comes to reading Kindle e-books (the Kindle itself retains its superiority as a read-in-the-sun e-book reader).  But you know Apple: they absolutely hate not having full control over everything that ever involved Apple.  And it looks like this time, this attitude is going to cost them.  Can’t say that I’m broken up about that.

Moe Lane

PS: The eventual default price for an e-book is likely to stabilize somewhere between 5 and 10 dollars.  Just saying, that’s all.

9 Comments

  • Darin_H says:

    The thing that I hate the most with ebooks is looking at the different prices compared to the used tree versions. I’ve picked up used paperbacks for less than $4 (amazing since it’s $3.99 shipping for most used books….), but you look at the Kindle price and it’s still something like $7.99. Yeah, I can’t pay twice as much for the same thing*

    *I know, I actually own the tree version at the end of the day, but that is a minor issue at this point for most books I own.

  • jbird says:

    My wife loves her Nook. I just prefer dead trees. I suppose if the e-version becomes significantly cheaper I’ll change over. 2 big drawbacks are still the initial e-reader purchase price (I’m often penny-wise and pound foolish) and the fact that I can’t display the titles I’ve purchased on a bookshelf so that when you enter my house I can signal your intellectual inferiority. The 2nd item is a significant deficiency in my mind as it is the #1 reason most people actually keep books rather than tossing them after reading.

  • Luke says:

    Oooo. I guess I’m going to expand my backlog again. I was wanting to check out the Alex Bledsoe series you recommended, but wasn’t willing to pay more for a digital license than for the physical book.

  • BigGator5 says:

    “Mighty Antitrust Hammer of Maximum Fun”
    .
    HA!
    .
    In principle, I’m against antitrust laws. The world isn’t fair, neither should business. However I’m a conservative and not a libertarian, and I don’t really believe in anarcho-capitalism. I believe the state should enact laws to prevent theft, injury, or fraud (and this case seems to fall under fraud).

  • Crawford says:

    Really, you prefer Kindle on the iPad to Kindle on other platforms?
    .
    You own a 2nd or later generation iPad, right? I have a 1st gen, and from what I can tell, the last software update Apple pushed to it intentionally crippled it.
    .
    But that’s not the most galling thing. The most galling thing is that they will not approve a Kindle app that allows you to buy a Kindle e-book on the iPad; you have to use the browser (which, BTW, was what was crippled). Not because Apple wants to control the “user experience”, but because they want their 20% cut.
    .
    Oh, and watch as OS-X becomes another “walled garden”. I’ve already seen an open-source project have an FAQ about having to enable “non-app store” applications on OS-X.
    .
    Used to love Apple, because their devices worked so well. Won’t buy another Apple product, because they’ve let their love of control and profits outstrip their respect for their customers.

  • Jeff Weimer says:

    I have purchased exactly one physical book in the last 4 years – because my e-reader broke. I now read books on my phone; not bad, even though you page over a lot more. It’s just much more convenient since I don’t have to carry two similar devices around.

    But if you’re going to get a dedicated reader and don’t care about the flashier stuff, get a cheap Android tablet (that has access to Google Play) and get both the (free) Kindle and Nook apps. It’s about half the price and you’re not wedded to any one format.

    • Wombat-socho says:

      I find the Kindle Paperwhite is lightweight and small enough so it’s not a big deal to schlep it around with my phone. Being able to read it in the sun and the nighttime is an additional bonus.

  • RainGeek says:

    I’m slowly moving my entire collection of books to ebook versions. I’m tired of packing up and moving 30+ boxes of books every few years.

    What I do is go to Safeway once a month and buy the in-store Amazon gift card. I buy it on my airline VISA (so I get the mileage points) and I get the Safeway gas points. This gives me points towards my next vacation and a cheaper tank of gas. Win, win.

    I’ve got an Amazon wish list set up with the books I want to purchase, and I check it on a regular basis. Newer books tend to be more expensive, but if you give it 6 to 12 months the price will often drop or be part of a huge giveaway sale on Amazon. I just watch this like a hawk and buy when the price is lower.

    The exception is for authors who have re-released books that I loved and were previously out of print or hard to find. I’m usually so happy to find it I’ll buy it at a higher price point to throw some more $$ towards the author. Often these are self-published anyway so it’s all good. I’ll also buy new when its an author I really like and I want to help them out on the rankings list.

    So essentially, Amazon (and Baen) is getting a good portion of my entertainment budget and I try to work the system for maximum value. It’s all fun and games, kind of like mining for gold. And the best part is that my entire collection is available anywhere I go.

    My next trick is to remember to do the Amazon purchases so my favorite bloggers like Moe get a tip as well.

    Personally I find that I read my collection mostly on my iPad or iPhone. I do have a Kindle that works great for long airplane flights or reading the in sun. But the delivery method doesn’t matter, it’s the content that matters.

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