In the beginning there was the Net Book Agreement. The NBA, a gentleman's accord 'twixt publishers and retailers, ensured that prices set by the makers of books were respected by the sellers of the same. Then it was realised that this was a form of 'price maintenance' and that this was anti-competitive. Quite right, said many in …
As highlighted at the very start of the article, the NBA regulated the industry by ensuring a fair marketplace and ensuring no one business could corner the industry and force everyone else out. Some would call this a cartel, and our competition laws generally frown on it, but it did ensure businesses could largely compete.
Now we have the very thing the NBA originally prevented - one massive player flexing its influencene and money, forcing the rest of the industry to comply with its rules, controlling the market, and ultimately forcing the little guy out of business while also increasing the cost to the consumer.
So to suggest that Apple is working to make life fairer for the consumer is blinkered at best. Apple is using its might and money in an attempt to force other players out of the market - of course it should be sued.
This article is so full of nonsense, lousy analysis and ridiculous non-sequiturs I am actually at a loss as to where to begin in a response.
Seriously, I don't know where to start. How did this make it past the editor? It reads like a press release from the desk of Steve Jobs.
It's written by the editor? :)
Personally I like the writing style (while not commenting on the accuracy, or lack thereof, of the content).
Strange: I read it as a balanced view on the positives and negatives of the NBA/Agency model.
I don't like the idea of the producer setting the price, but it did ensure a more diverse range of publishers in print editions. It also meant that I would have bought more second-hand books if I lived in a country where that sort of cartel existed. However, the "arrangement" between Apple and the publishers in ebooks is the worst of all possible worlds, and I hope to $deity that those involved get their arses kicked hard.
"And so it came to pass that big chains buying in books in bulk were able to gain volume discounts and undercut smaller, weaker booksellers, a fair few of whom went to the wall."
You know what? I used to work for one of those 'smaller, weaker booksellers'. And you know what? It was crap. The stock was crap. The store was crap. It didn't make anyone happy. Not even the person who owned it.
When the NBA went out, you know what? It went to the wall, beaten out by the small Waterstone's branch in the same town. And you know what? The Waterstone's branch is a lot bloody better. Better stock, better service, better decor, better bleeding everything.
So I'm not shedding any tears for the NBA, even though it cost me a (crap) job.
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