The DOJ Gets it Backwards in Ebook Pricing Case

Compelling testimony to DOJ from indie ebook publisher @smashwords in support of agency pricing for ebooks

For those not in publishing, this is a hot controversy, as the DOJ has sued the "big 6" publishers for supposedly collude with each other and with Apple to adopt a model in which the publisher sets the price, rather than the retailer. This was done in response to predatory pricing by Amazon, in which they were selling books at lower than cost in order to gain market share and to build the Kindle user base.

There was no need for publishers to collude: when Apple asked for this pricing model, it made sense. But more to the point, as Mark Coker of Smashwords argues, there's plenty of competition when publishers set the price, especially for ebooks, which is an emerging field with thousands of self-publishers competing for attention, while there are only two or three major book retailers left.

It's kind of crazy how often regulators are fighting the last war. Can't they see that the concentration of power is now in the hands of retailers, especially Amazon? Letting publishers set the price is increasing competition, not decreasing it!
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