Don’t Believe The eBook Anti-Anti-Trust Spin

Steve Jobs, Price Fixer?

Publishers wanted competition among ereaders instead of a Kindle monopoly and worried that the subsidized price established artificially low prices.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

This article seems to be the opening offensive against the Department of Justice’s inquiry and accusation of Apple and the Big Six engaging in a price-fixing conspiracy.

While the bullshit flies thick and fast in the upcoming days, I want all of you to remember these key points so you don’t go insane and forget your bearings:

1) The publishers “wanted competition”? Then why did they all allow Borders to go bankrupt? Not one of them would work with that chain to help it survive. They wrote off all existing debt rather than help foster competition against Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Borders had the Kobo eReader, a Kindle competitor.

2) Did the publishers ever force Amazon to an Agency Model for their print books? No, they did not. Isn’t it strange how they never worried about the market power of Amazon in print but were scared of Amazon in eBooks?

3) Did the publishers ever mention “windowing” eBooks when the Sony Reader Store was the major game in town? No, they did not. Nor did they ever complain about Sony discounting — and it did, by offering bundles of books that are no longer possible under the Agency Model.

4) Did the publishers ever mention “windowing” print books to Amazon? That is, letting the then-still-alive-Borders and Barnes & Noble several weeks of print book exclusivity before Amazon could sell them? No, they never did. Remember point one: They let Borders drop dead!

5) Since when did uniform and universal pricing set from the top — ala the old Soviet Kremlin’s Command and Control system — become a measure of competition? When people state that the Agency Model’s uniform pricing is actually good for competition, ask the people who are trying to shove this bullshit down your throat if they buy their print books at a discount from Amazon!

6) Does anyone really believe that Apple was ever in a disadvantageous position to enter the eBook market? Before the iBookstore was ever unveiled with the iPad, Apple already had several million iPhones out there, all waiting to be iBookstore customers, dwarfing the population of Kindles.

No, don’t believe the anti-anti-trust bullshit.

Whether the arguments put forward by the government will stick or not is irrelevant to the overarching fact that Apple is still guilty of restraint of trade by demanding a 30% vig from every other eBookstore.

I’m not sympathetic to any tech company or publisher or eBookstore. They’re all out to drain our wallets to their best advantage, not ours. What often looks like a bargain up-front is a hidden agenda for overwhelming dominance later on that is designed to kill competition.

Yes, that sounds just like the Kindle model. But guess what? That’s the iPad model too.


  1. Sweetpea12 March, 2012

    Funny fact… We have had an agency model for some time (for p-books, not for e-books). The reason why it was created? To remove competition from your average supermarket that would sell books at a loss (to lure customers who would then buy groceries that would deliver the profit) at the expense of bookstores that only sold books.

    1. John Wilker12 March, 2012

      Funny considering most supermarkets now don’t even have book sections, or if they do it’s it’s 1/4 of one aisle.

      Be interesting to see if the concept still applies or if supermarkets aren’t a factor now.


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