Friday, April 13, 2012

Authors Be Gone

From: CoverBrowser

"It's easy to see the positive in the Department of Justice's decision to file a lawsuit against publishers and Apple over ebook pricing: it means cheaper ebooks, right? And an end to the shadowy publisher/Apple conspiracy to, according to the DoJ, 'end ebook retailers' freedom to compete on price, take control of pricing from ebook retailers and substantially increase the prices that consumers pay for ebooks.'
     Amazon was certainly quick to rejoice, releasing a statement calling the settlement 'a big win for Kindle owners,' and saying that it looks forward 'to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books.' [...]
     The DoJ lawsuit plays, it seems to me, right into the hands of Amazon. Yes, we'll have cheaper books, but at what cost? Is it worth paying a little bit less for a title if it threatens the future existence of the publishers who are bringing us the books? Or will we be happy getting everything we read from a vastly reduced pool of presses?
     Authors Guild president – and fantastic writer – Scott Turow says the US 'government may be on the verge of killing real competition in order to save the appearance of competition. This would be tragic for all of us who value books and the culture they support.' "
— Alison Flood, The Guardian

"[...] But now, with e-books, the chickens are coming home to roost. In February, veteran author Jim C. Hines discovered that Amazon had discounted his $2.99 e-books to 99 cents, cutting his royalties in the process. Jim tried in vain to discover why Amazon had done this. One Amazon rep told him that the company reserved the right to re-price their e-books ('...sole and complete discretion to set the retail price at which your Digital Books are sold through the Program'). Jim made a stink, and another rep got in touch with him to say that in his case, they’d lowered the price because they had out-of-date information about how he priced his books in the Kobo store.
     This is what DRM enables. Imagine Amazon and other platforms all reserving the right to lower your e-book prices to match a competitor’s lowest advertised price. Imagine if Amazon decided to cut your $3.99 book to 99 cents for a promotion (while paying you royalties on $3.99 for the duration of the promotion). Its competitors would soon notice that Amazon is advertising your book at 99 cents and invoke their right to price match. The upshot: your book is never going back to $3.99, ever. Such baked-in price matching would have the effect of making all price drops permanent."
— Corey Doctorow, Publishers Weekly

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