Day 805 of the Agency Era – Now Things Get Complicated
- I took a few minutes this afternoon to look some dates, do the math, and I can tell you that it has been just over 2 years and 2 months since Steve Jobs stood on a stage and announced the iPad.
While some might dispute it, I have decided to mark 27 January 2010 as the beginning of the agency era. When it will end, no one knows.
And no, its not over. While 3 of the colluding publishers (S&S, HC, and Hachette) have settled with the US government; the other 2 have not. They’re going to be fighting protracted lawsuits, which will likely stretch out for years. And even when the cases are decided, there’s still a chance that the Macmillan and Penguin might get off. If they win they will have no obligation to get rid of the price fixing that they now demand.
And even if they lose, price fixing will still be in play in the ebook market. Random House was completely unaffected by the lawsuit, and the same goes for Smashwords. There’s no guarantee that either will drop agency pricing. TBH I don’t expect either RH or Smashwords to change overnight. The news today is such a shock to me that I do not believe anyone will be able to come up with a coherent policy until next week, at the earliest.
I mean, when I pictured this day, I expected to see either all of the Price Fix 6 vanquished or resolutely fighting. I didn’t foresee a partial victory that left 2 of the villains still fighting. Did you?
But even when those 2 do figure out what to do next, there’s still the state anti-trust lawsuits. No less than 16 states are going after 3 publishers and Apple, and Ghod only know how that will end.
That Chinese curse was right; we truly live in interesting times.