Morning Coffee – 9 March 2016

25528442291_70d2856da0_hHere are six stories to read this morning.

  1. Editorial: Apple wronged by Supreme Court e-book pass (MacNN)
  2. Indie book publisher hilariously explains exactly why they hate books (Mashable)
  3. Marie Force Calls E-Books ‘Blockbuster’ for Genre Writers (Observer)
  4. The NOOK's weird death-march (Gene Doucette)
  5. A Plagiarism Scandal Is Unfolding In The Crossword World (FiveThirtyEight)
  6. Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal In Batmobile Copyright Case (Consumerist)

And since I find myself short on time this evening to hunt for links, here are three link posts for you to enjoy.

  1. Pile ‘o links #1 (Doc Searls Weblog)
  2. Pile ‘o links #2 (Doc Searls Weblog)
  3. Pile o’ Links #3 (Doc Searls Weblog)

image by ell brown

About Nate Hoffelder (10608 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

12 Comments on Morning Coffee – 9 March 2016

  1. Timothy Wilhoit // 9 March, 2016 at 6:35 am // Reply

    The MacNN piece was an eye-roller. Although there are many laugh lines, this is a good one: “The court will not listen to Apple’s contention that a 2014 settlement requiring it to pay $450 million in costs and damages is wrong.” The settlement Apple agreed to, hence the usage of the word “settlement?” Maybe they shouldn’t have agreed to it. Of course, they were soooo sure they were going to get the $70M mark (for a re-trial) or the $0 amount (for a complete reversal).

    Sounds like a belief disconfirmation paradigm at work.

  2. See?
    True believers through and through.
    Never surrender, never give up.
    And nary a thought that what Apple did wasn’t just price their books higher but to force their *competitors’* prices higher, thereby killing the majority of the smaller ones.
    Of course, by now they probably have convinced themselves that Apple invented ebooks and nobody was selling ebooks before 2010.
    Such a strange world they live in.

    • Apple didn’t “force” their competitors prices higher. The Big 5 wanted higher prices (which is legal) and that was a requirement of them making a deal with Apple. Apple wanted a favored nations clause (which is legal). Apple also apparently was the one who suggested agency (which was legal) because that’s the way they’ve priced their apps and most of their other downloads.

      What the courts determined was illegal is the way Apple and the Big 5 went about this. Mostly the way the Big 5 conspired (talking about hurting Amazon openly) with Apple “driving the car.”

      What still hasn’t been explained is given all the real anti-competitive monopoly activity in America (like cable companies and telecoms) that actually hurt customers and limit choices, why did the DOJ decided to focus on a new competitor entering a market. I don’t think it’s too crazy to think that the government was sending a message to Apple that you need to play ball with us, or we can mess you up. Apple never paid as much money to lobbyists as Google or Amazon and didn’t help the government ease drop like AT&T and Verizon. (Which clearly do collude on cell phone pricing.)

      In the end, despite a ton of government time being spent on this, almost everything Apple negotiated with the Big 5 came about, higher prices for their ebooks, agency and favored nations clauses. Because it was all legal except for the talks over white wine. Consumers didn’t benefit from any of this a lick. But lawyers did.

      The danger of this decision is that it will discourage companies from aggressively entering new markets when there is a powerful and well connected company (like Amazon) already dominating it. That’s a bad thing and the opposite of what anti-trust law is supposed to do. Let’s also not forget that before Apple entered the market, Amazon took the bulk of all indy sales and only lowered to the 70%/30% to compete with Apple’s coming entry. So it was a very good thing Apple entered the market, even though they got irrationally punished for it.

      But, on the bright side, Apple is now spending tons of money on government lobbying. So it’s a win/win situation for the powerful.

      • Apple demanded Agency.
        Apple demanded MFN.
        Apple insisted on $12.99 as the price point.
        Add it up. The DOJ did.

        And Amazon had nothing to do with Apple colluding with other Silivalley companies to illegally depress their own employees’ salaries. Or with Jobs going to the Facebook board to complain Zuckerberg refused to join his conspiracy.

        Apple’s role was no accident: Jobs knew exactly what he was doing.

        • “Apple demanded Agency.” Which was legal and logical.

          “Apple demanded MFN.” Which was legal and logical.

          “Apple insisted on $12.99 as the price point.” Which was legal and as logical as Apple could be given the Big Five insisted on higher price points. The Big Five wanted the prices even higher, and have since gotten that in many cases with Amazon. Jobs refused to go as high as the Big 5 wanted and also refused to have ebooks more expensive than hard backs. He also warned the Big 5 that Amazon might be right and $9.99 might be the correct price point for customers. But he was willing to give slightly higher pricing a try. Also, all legal.

          “Add it up. The DOJ did.” Why is the DOJ investigating anti-trust issues with a new entry to a market that is dominated by a single company, Amazon? (And who happens to do a ton of computer processing work for the CIA.) Don’t they have other things to do? To try to pretend that Amazon had nothing to do with prodding the DOJ is fantasy.

          Jobs was doing exactly what he had done with the record companies for music and what he had done with TV shows and movies. There was nothing new there. Why didn’t the DOJ go after Apple over the iTunes store? The only difference is that Amazon already controlled the market Apple wanted to enter. So add it up. (Of course, it didn’t help that the Big 5 loved to collude on everything and generally act like bozos.)

          (The employee raiding thing is more complicated, and possibly more shady. But even if you take it as a worse case example of Apple’s behavior, it has nothing to do with the ebook situation. Any more that Amazon’s hot warehouses.)

          Look, those wanting to claim that courts found Apple guilty of illegal activity can start dancing. But if you think any Apple fans who have been arguing that this was selective prosecution, a bad decision and a bad legal precent are going to change our minds because the Supreme Court is infallible are dreaming.

          The biggest irony of all is the rumors that Amazon is now forcing the Big 5 into agency, which I’m not sure I believe but even the talk of it shows that Apple’s original position wasn’t illegal. In fact, Agency is the most logical way to do ebook pricing (that’s the way most Indies want it). That the Big 5 overprice ebooks and hurt their own profits, that’s their problem.

          So clearly in the long run in regard to Agency, as always, Jobs was right.

  3. The thing that Apple will like about the result is that of the $400 Million, some of this will come back into their coffers via sales in their shop.

    Can customers who get credits in their account buy anything from Apple or does it have to be ebooks? If it has to be ebooks, then the publishers will also get a benefit.

    At worst, Apple will get 30% of the $400 Million. Not a terrible result for them

  4. And Nate, just my two cents since you mentioned you were thinking of hanging it up with this site: I love Morning Coffee but I would be just as happy with five links a day. You don’t have to apologize (to me) for not having eight or ten. You’re curation is what’s valuable and frankly sometimes I don’t have time to get through them all. So if you just focused your time on five a day it would still be a must check out for me. I’d rather see you keep the site up and do less work than abandon it all together.

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