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back to article Barnes & Noble files official complaint over ebook settlements

Barnes & Noble has lodged a complaint over the ebook settlement proposed by the Department of Justice, claiming that it will be bad news for booksellers and the American public. The bookseller, which has been competing in the market with its Nook ereader, said that the DoJ's antitrust case against Apple and five publishing …

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Silver badge

Would you like some cheese to go with that?

If Amazon is doing something wrong, go after Amazon.

If they are not doing anything wrong (just stuff you don't like) to bad.

Price fixing is not in the public interest no matter how you want to twist things.

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Re: Would you like some cheese to go with that?

B & N, the Sony to the RIAA of the book publishing world

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So now you want to save the printing presses!

Make your mind up!

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Anonymous Coward

OWN FAULT

The last time I went to BN (can't find one now) I noticed the music wasn't anywhere near alternative enough, but I loved the tech section, and magazines. Bought several UK mags religiously even. Since the closed I ain't bought nothing. I miss sitting with coffee at BN, that used to be fun.

Now they want to be nearly all electronic at a time when electronics are being exploited by corrupt ngo's, corps, governments, spys, while all I want to do is drop my domains, webhosting and ISP (soon!)

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What a noble and stalwart protector of the good of the people B&N has become.

They want to protect us from paying the same price for an e-book, with close to zero distribution costs, as a paper copy. Clearly, without the costs of printing (raw materials, transportation, labor, facilities), distribution, and trashing the value of unsold copies, they must have our best interests at heart in maintaining the same prices for both media. And to make the ambiance of buying books up to historic levels, it is certainly reasonable to charge the same for an e-book as the hard cover version of the book. Sometimes even after the paperback is out - ah the nostalgia.

And then there is the BS they are trying to implement to screw libraries. Much higher prices, e-books "wearing out" after a certain (low) number of times they are "checked out". Perhaps they should also implement a random required feed to properly simulate the historic losses from chew crazy dogs, lost books, spilled grape juice, and stolen copies. This would most completely preserve the wonders of commerce we have so long been able to enjoy.

And then, of course, there is DRM and some distributors tying the book to only their reader.

Thank you B&N. You are a selfless bastion for our rights.

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Anonymous Coward

Ebooks vs Print Prices

I don't know about in the states, but here in the UK I'm surprised ebooks aren't actually *more* expensive than paper ones.

The cost of print/distribution for a physical book is between around 10% and 15% of the retail price. By going digital that means a saving in that region. However in the UK ebooks are subject to VAT at 20% versus a print book VAT of zero.

Net result? Given that other costs remain roughly the same (royalties, editing, artwork etc), the ebook should be costing between 5% and 10% more than the printed version to achieve the same revenue.

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Bronze badge

Re: Ebooks vs Print Prices

In the states it should be the opposite since we have no VAT, and since it's a digital delivery via the net you can skirt sales tax and there is no shipping cost.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Ebooks vs Print Prices

Your maths is a little wrong. 10% manufacturing cost is OK for cheapish / mass-market paperbacks, but for anything technical it goes up a great deal. Also publishers discount at 30% or so to booksellers, so your distribution figure needs to take that into account, since we mostly go out through channels

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Anonymous Coward

Problems...

The problem, here, is that ultimately B&N are correct; this will lead to an Amazon stranglehold.

HOWEVER their logic is unfounded; the system is designed to stop the activities Apple et al are acting in. They'd be better off getting an investigation of Amazon as a monopoly so that Amazon can't use cheap ebooks and kindles as a loss-leader to rule the market.

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Anonymous Coward

Fighting over diminishing scraps

This is just a squabble between entities who have made so much money out of publishing in the past, and have finally realized that many of their gravy trains are hitting the buffers.

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I bought a Nook because I was running out of room to store physical books (I have over 1,000 right now, and gave over 2,500 to my son). I have about 80 books on my Nook, half of which I purchased, and half of which were free downloads from B & N. Then I got the Kindle app for PC on my computer and found out I could get a lot more free books from Amazon than I could from B & N. Right after that, I bought a Kindle (I now have over 600 books on it, about 1/3 of which I have paid for; the free ones are from new authors I would never otherwise have heard about or even known that they had 2nd or 3rd books out, which I paid for). This is not something which B & N does, so why should I be loyal to them? I'm all for patronizing a site that promotes new authors and if the authors are fine with their first book being free for a limited time, then I don't see why anyone else should have a problem with it.

And the thing is, I had been downloading ebooks off the internet years before I ever thought of buying an ereader - mIRC has hundreds of channels where you can go and download ebooks that other people have scanned (I have over 1,800 of those on my computer, most of which I had purchased in paperback years ago and no longer own). There will always be ways to get ebooks for free, without DRM, and that can be converted to be compatible with most ereaders. The publishing industry had better get used to it.

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Childcatcher

Oh the poor publishers

Maybe if they don't like the effect of Amazon's sales model then they shouldn't sell stuff to Amazon.

And where did this moral crusade against price-fixing come from all of a sudden? Its been standard practice in most industries for as long as I can remember - the thing that is striking about the Apple et al agency model is how open is is about what it is doing.

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Silver badge

Bah!

Amazon selling ebooks at a loss? With Heinlein ebooks from the 1960s selling at $10, *more* than a new copy of the paperback costs? With ebooks that have only a hardback alternative selling for more than the discounted hardback?

Oh, right, I see. Amazon has set prices so unrealistically high that no-one is *buying* their books. Now it makes sense.

For the record: There is no way that an e-copy of Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers, Red Planet or Time Enough for Love should cost more than 5 bux. There is no way any ebook should cost more than the paper version for Caxton's sake!

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Silver badge

retailer cartels

It wasn't the UK, and it was highly illegal for them to do so, but when I was flogging tech books, retailers put a lot of pressure on the wholesalers to force my company to stop undercutting their 2-300% markups.

(They'd claim "import, 90 day delay", while ordering the books from the wholesaler in bulk and selling at between 5-10x USA cover prices. People were more than happy to buy from us at twice cover price on next day supply. Let's not even go into the insane distribution methods which resulted in USA and UK magazines hitting shelves 6-7 months after publication at 3 times their original cover price - once it got easy to use credit cards to subscribe direct, retailers lost 90% of their import magazine sales and were trying to get the practice made illegal, instead of solving the issue of (still existant) copyright cartels which carve up the world into inefficient blocks)

Why should an Australian company have to deal with a UK distributor to get a USA product when it can buy the same item retail in the USA and land it at home for 50% less than the distributor wants FOB Tilbury?

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