According to Slate, Amazon has lost another battle, this time to HarperCollins that has won the right to overprice its eBooks again. HarperCollins joins the unique club of big publishers that also won the fight with Amazon–Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan. You might remember this bunch being found guilty for conspiring with Apple to “fix” prices on eBooks.
Remember? It’s slightly more than a year since these publishers finished settling out of court before the U.S. Justice Department anti-trust lawsuit judgment landed on Apple. These companies settled out of court and repaid millions and millions of dollars that had been bilked out of consumers with the Agency Model.
Somehow these publishers can now fix prices again, and Amazon is avoiding blame by adding a disclaimer to overpriced HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan eBook titles: “This price was set by the publisher.”
It makes you wonder if there was any point to the U.S. Justice Department lawsuit.
Despite the setback for consumers, it may still be an opportunity for Indie authors. Those that haven’t ransomed their options to Kindle Unlimited are able to price their eBooks fairly. (Indies invented fair eBook pricing, anyway.)
According to a GalleyCat post, we should get ready to be gouged again as HarperCollins’ contract talks with Amazon hint that the publisher is planning a return to the Agency Pricing model for eBooks (like many price-fixing publishers have already done) where they set their own prices regardless of what the retailer, consumer or market will bear.
The Agency Model forces the price of eBooks as high or higher than the “paper” book equivalents. This has the effect of filling publishers’ pockets with money, and cooling down the eBook Revolution where the keen and tech-savvy public does not buy the corporate sob story about eBooks costing as much to publish as hard covers.
The worst part of that is readers will again suffer the dirty end of the Agency Model stick.
One promising note. The eBook Revolution started out this way. As the big publishers undercut and damaged the eBook sales of their own stables of writers, Indie authors priced their wares to sell and sell they did. Readers got realistic prices and a long list of new authors that had been kept out by the corporate gatekeepers.
Oh, the Agency Model is good for the eBook pirates too since agency model pricing makes stealing eBooks well worth the effort. So get ready for those complaints again!
I can’t believe we’re going back to square one. The Indies should prep for a bump in sales!
Finances reported that Barnes and Noble continues to flaunt its bricks and mortar footprint in the digital publishing world by setting its April 2015 lineup of FREE Storytime events for children with a focus on the joys of reading.
Details on winning a $500 Gilt E-Gift Card, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK and 100 $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Cards at the link.