Monday, March 12, 2012

Ebooks: defending the agency model from @guardian

The launch of an antitrust probe against book publishers, which the US Department of Justice has threatened, couldn't have come at a weirder time. In the two previous Monday Notes, we explained how Amazon is manoeuvring itself into a position to dominate the entire book industry. The Seattle giant keeps moving up the food chain, from controlling ebook distribution (in addition to selling print books), to competing against publishers and even agents by luring bestselling authors. No one would bet a dime on the printed book as it reaches its peak while ebook sales keep exceeding expectations.
So why is the DOJ waving the threat of an antitrust action?
Five publishers Рand one distributor, Apple Рare in the the US administration's crosshairs: Hachette Book Group (a division of Lagard̬re Group), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp), MacMillan (Holtzbrinck GmbH), Penguin (Pearson PLC), and HarperCollins (News Corp). All are said to be suspected of ebook price collusion. (The Wall Street Journal broke the story on 9 March).

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