Publishers, Apple Ready to Move on From Legal Troubles?

Two anonymous sources have told Reuters that European regulators have accepted a proposed settlement between Apple and four publishers under investigation. The settlement would give Amazon and other retailers more flexibility with ebook pricing. The EU Commission says that the investigation is ongoing and Apple declined to comment.
 
Reuters calls the development a win for Amazon. While that may be so, it also could be looked at like a win for the publishing industry as a whole, given the circumstances.
 
The alternative to a swift settlement is a costly court battle. In the U.S., a settlement between three of the publishers and the Department of Justice hasn’t resulted in any retailers or publishers imploding, as was feared by some publishing industry observers.
 
It will remain to be seen what the details of the reported settlement are but if they’re similar to those in the U.S., signing and getting it done might be the best path forward for publishers at this point. And it looks like four of them may be testing that premise.


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The rest of the day’s top news:
 
Discussing the Merger (PW)
Current Random House chairman and CEO Markus Dohle said that his priority as Penguin Random House CEO will be to ensure a small-company culture. Current Penguin Group chairman John Makinson said that his priority will be to make sure the company still has a “personal touch.” They say that the merger will be better for everyone: employees, authors, agents, booksellers and readers.
 
When Size Doesn’t Matter (DBW)
The argument can be made that in publishing today, size doesn’t really matter all that much.

Pearson Parting With Another Big Asset? (Bloomberg)
Rumors that Pearson is looking to offload its newspaper, the Financial Times. Between Penguin-Random, Random House Mondadori and this, that’s a lot of financial activity in the publishing world in just a few weeks.
 
Ebook Spending Ticks up in Q2 (PW)
Ebook spending in the U.S. is up to 22% of all book spending, an eight-point increase over the same period last year, according to numbers from Bowker Market Research. 
 
Why One Guy Hates Ebooks (Business Insider)
Ebooks cost too much and you should really be able to own them and not license them. It’s what many consumers (and the writer of this article) think – whether publishers and booksellers like it or not. Proposed solution (spoiler alert: nothing new): Cap ebook prices at $10 and let readers own them as opposed to license them.  
 
New Way to Borrow Kindle Ebooks (PaidContent)
Amazon is trying out new $7.99 per month pricing for its Prime shipping service that gives Kindle owners a boat-load of content to enjoy to boot. If you go month-to-month for a year, it’s more than the $79 Amazon charges for an annual contract – but it could be good for those who just want cheap shipping for the holidays, for instance.
 
Amazon Adds Firefox to “Add to Kindle” (DBW)
If you’re reading an article on a Mozilla Firefox Web browser and feel like finishing it later on your Kindle, now you can with the touch of a button through Amazon’s new plug-in. The Firefox “add to Kindle” plug-in joins one from Chrome, Mac and PC operating systems and others.
 
Open Road Hires New Senior Editor (DBW)
Part of the promise of a prosperous digital future for digital-first/digital-only publishers like Open Road is the ability to mine out-of-print and back-list books for digital gold; and to partner with other publishing houses on special digital projects. Now Open Road has a seasoned senior editor to oversee both.  
Back to the Future (DBW)
ProQuest has helped Texas A&M digitize 15th century texts.
 
Digital Education Initiative From McGraw-Hill (DBW)
McGraw-Hill is turning its e-textbook pilot program into a full-fledged initiative, matching competitors like Wiley.  

The Future of the Book (Charlie Rose)
More than 30 minutes talking about the future of the book with Charlie Rose. If you don’t think spending your lunch break in front of your computer with headphones on is depressing, this is for you.  
 
Apple Censors Apples (The Register)
Apple is disallowing the sale of a new picture ebook in its store reportedly because of racy photos of nude hippies. Thing is, the parts that censors would likely consider verboten have been covered by bright, shiny red apples. Not good enough for big-“A” Apple.  

Image credit: Justice image via Shutterstock

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