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back to article Publishers pony up $69m in ebook price-fixing settlement

Three of the publishers accused along with Apple of price fixing in the ebook market have agreed to settle the case for a total of $69m, in a move that could mean a (very small) windfall for consumers in 49 US states and the District of Columbia. Under the terms of the settlement, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster …

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The point isn't the money..

Its keeping them from pulling these collusion deals in the future. So even if we won't be getting hardly any money back this is still good, because now they will have to compete again instead of just signing backroom deals.

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Re: The point isn't the money..

"Its keeping them from pulling these collusion deals in the future. So even if we won't be getting hardly any money back this is still good, because now they will have to compete again instead of just signing backroom deals."

No it won't. They'll collude without talking to each other kinda like the banks do now. One ups their price and everyone else does too.

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Re: The point isn't the money..

Of course, if they make more money than they get fined, then they are still ahead. So where is the incentive for them to stop this kind of behaviour in the first place?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The point isn't the money..

"No it won't. They'll collude without talking to each other kinda like the banks do now. One ups their price and everyone else does too."

Honestly? You seem confused that is not collusion, that’s how markets and their forces work. It's collusion when they agree to fix a price between them all that is only to their benefit (ie:Inflated) that misrepresents a the fair value of purchase.

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How is price fixing in the best interest of an open and competitive market?

Personally eBooks are a rip off. There is no printing and distribution costs, no stores or staff, yet cost almost as much as the actual book. If you buy a second hand copy, it can be actually cheaper than the eBook.

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Well

I can give you the current standard spiel of dead trees are practically free, shipping & handling cost nothing, blah, blah... most of the money goes to the author's cut, marketing, editing, blah, blah... the best we can possibly do is $2 off the hardcover price until the paperback comes out then it will be $1.50 less than that. The audiobook is typically cheaper because we contract that out and they handle the blah, blah costs. Yadda, yadda, school textbooks cost a lot no matter what because blah, profit, yadda more profit.

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Unhappy

The point about "agency pricing"..........

I often wondered why, in some cases, the kindle version of the book cost MORE than the paper version so I wrote to Amazon and asked them, got some nice speil about it (Amazon) not being able to set the prices, the book's publisher set the prices and if Amazon wanted to sell it they had to do so at that price.

I'd agree that at first sight there are "no" production costs but when you think about it they have to format it for the different devices etc, tru, nowhere near as much as "traditional" publishing so I really don't understand why publishers want to gouge the emerging eBook market (Oh wait, I just read that and realised how stupid it sounds!)

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@Andy ORourke

Isn't it just VAT that pushes up the price of e-books above the paper versions?

The tax on being too poor to have the physical space for a paper-book library.

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Stop

Learn something before speaking

In a vain attempt to forestall the usual freetard comments, I'll repeat what many seem to be unwilling to remember - less than a quarter of the total cost of publishing a book is spent on manufacturing and distribution of the physical product. That's true across the industry, and in some areas it's considerably less than that (scale having its benefits).

Add in the significant cost of formatting the text for all the various devices (which is a lot harder than you'd think if you've never tried) as well as the VAT issue, and there is genuinely very little room for savings in ebooks.

And for those who accuse publishing of excessive profiteering, you've clearly never actually looked at the results of most publishing companies. If we wanted massive profits, we'd be in a different industry - software, perhaps!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Learn something before speaking

Excuse my french but that is bollocks! Go read Walter Jon Williams excellent blog. He has been e-publishing his past works. In some cases he has used pirate versions to save him reformatting them himself. In other cases he has had to reformat from scratch. In the last year he has reformatted and published a fair bit of stuff, and yet still seems able to keep his prices reasonable. I say your reformatting argument is spurious.

In my opinion the publishers charge too much for many ebooks (Iain Banks's being a good example) so I vote with my wallet. If it isn't significantly cheaper than the dead tree book I don't buy it.

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Re: Learn something before speaking

another place for people to learn before spouting....

http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2010/04/common-misconceptions-about-pu-1.html

exhaustive and depthy explanations and long years of experience distilled nicely.. warning: Requires Thinking

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Anonymous Coward

Where is Apples fine?

They are at the heart of this deception, scheming and colluding for its own gains, at the expense of consumers.

That wall garden is covered in dogs sh te, and stinks from here!

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Anonymous Coward

Where the US Department of Justices case will fall down is that Apple is about to be awarded the patent on litigation and will refuse the US Department of Justices a license, case over

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