Apple: E-Book Price-Fixing Settlement Should Be Rejected Until After Trial

Since the proposed e-book price-fixing settlement between the Department of Justice and three of the largest U.S. publishers requires them to exit their current contracts with Apple, the tech company has argued in a memo filed with the Southern District of New York that any such settlement should be delayed until after it has had its day in court.

The logic makes sense: We didn’t settle, so why should we be penalized by having to exit this business practice which we deny is illegal (agency pricing for e-books).

A footnote in the Apple memo goes on to slam Amazon as a “monopolist” and claim that the government is simply mouthpiece for the leading U.S. bookseller, having interviewed 14 of its employees in the matter but none under oath.

Still, antitrust experts say the settlement is likely to go through.


Penguin Has Its Say (Pub Lunch)
In a filing yesterday, Penguin argued that the government has no proof that e-book prices rose after agency pricing was implemented and that if it does, it hasn’t shared it with defendants or the public. The Author’s Guild has also filed another five pages in the matter, arguing that the settlement doesn’t define the market it affects widely enough.

Can Twitter and Goodreads Trump Search and Algorithmic Recommendation? (DBW)
“When every single customer is directed, by a machine, to one single product…we lose some of the value in the process,” argues Aziz Isham, founder of reKiosk, a new affiliate bookselling site. According to Isham, the key to the survival of the publishing industry as we know is the return of something like the community bookseller, except on a much more massive scale – and online.

Speaking of Affiliate Selling… (DBW)
A spate of new bookselling sites hang their hate on affiliate selling. Some of them seem kind of cool and others a bit seedy.

Tough Times for Barnes & Noble (Jags Report)
After hitting a high of $26 per share following the Microsoft-Nook joint venture announcement, Barnes & Noble shares have been sent tumbling following a series of negative reports and downgrades. An oldie but a goodie: Four Disadvantages for Barnes & Noble in the E-Book Wars.

Discoverability Without Spreadability Is a Marketing Disability (DBW)
Hard to say but a simple and important concept: If your content is discoverable but, once discovered, the prospective reader doesn’t know why she should buy, then what’s the point?

Scholastic Goes Global to Promote Latest Transmedia Epic (DBW)
Some 14 million copies of Scholastic’s 39 Clues series are in print around the world and the company is pulling out all the stops to make its latest transmedia mega-project, Infinity Ring, a success.

Why Rakuten Could Win the Battle But Lose the War to Amazon in Japan (DBW)
The company, now parent to Kobo, was first to launch an e-ink reader in Japan and claims it has sold 100,000 of the devices so far, but the Rakuten Kobo Touch is riddled with defects and has been dogged by poor reviews. Amazon is to launch in Japan imminently.

DRM: When Philosophy Runs Into Business (Pub Lunch)
More on the Little, Brown/DRM brouhaha.

What the DOJ Should Really Be Doing (Rolling Stone)
According to enterprising Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi (who famously dubbed Goldman Sachs a “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”), the DOJ may be misplacing its efforts in investigating the publishing industry.


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