The big four publishers will return to price-fixing… I mean the Agency Model…

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 AmazonHachette, 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.)

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Posted on April 17th, 2015
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