Archive for the ‘Legal Actions’ Category

Check your e-mail: you may have an Amazon credit

October 19, 2017

Check your e-mail: you may have an Amazon credit

I got an e-mail today telling me about an Amazon credit…and I was also informed by the Kindle app on my phone.

It’s real (at least there is a real one going out…someone could fake one as well).

This is part of the settlement against Apple…the money is actually coming from Apple, indirectly.

Here’s how you can check:

Amazon’s Apple eBooks Antitrust Settlement page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

So, I guess you don’t really need to check your e-mail. ūüėČ

I’m getting $9.92. How much you get will depend on how much you spent on qualifying books during the right timeframe.

All you have to do is buy qualifying books…the money is automatically applied. The credit expires April 20, 2018.

Might be a good time to get things from your Amazon Wish List…or to start buying gifts for the holidays (which you can delay for the appropriate gift giving occasion, or send to yourself to print out for whenever you want.

Enjoy!


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

Start:Sep 25, 2017 5:46 AM PDT

End:Oct 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

One week left…and hundreds of people have entered!


Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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Congressional request for review of Amazon/Whole Foods deal

July 22, 2017

Congressional request for review of Amazon/Whole Foods deal

When I first wrote about Amazon’s proposed takeover of Whole Foods:

The largelthiest storket in the world! Why does Amazon want to buy Whole Foods?

I was questioned on a couple of things.

One was my quirky words. ūüôā I was trying to combine “largest store” and “healthy market” (sort of), but I’ll admit that even for me, that was a stretch. ūüėČ

The other was that I was referring to it in indefinite terms…not committing to it happening.

Well, I’m not going to say now that it’s not going to happen for sure…I think the challenge I’ll write about below is not going to derail it. However, I still think it’s not 100% yet, although I do think it’s likely to happen.

Here’s one story on it:

Reuters article by Ginger Gibson

On what?

Twelve Congressmembers of the minority party have sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission asking for a more in-depth examination of the proposed Amazon/Whole Foods deal.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union made the letter public:

http://www.ufcw.org/2017/07/21/amazonwholefoodsletter/

The two arguments in the letter seem…well, I’ll go with “unconvincing”.

The one has to do with the availability of healthy food to disadvantaged communities.

I’m sorry, but I just can’t see anyway that Amazon is going to make food¬†less available than it is currently at Whole Foods. If anything, prices should come down (due in part to efficiencies, but also because of corporate philosophies). Delivery and access should also become easier for more people.

The other one is a concern about closing retail stores. I don’t see that that is specifically a problem (despite having been a manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, a gamestore and more).

I also think this deal will make it more likely that a brick-and-mortar store continues to be around, rather than less likely.

So, my guessed outcomes would be the opposite of what the letter suggests, on both of their issues.

Another thing that seems weird about this? Jeff Bezos hasn’t been a friend of the President…which should, essentially, align the Amazon CEO (Chief Executive Officer) with the people who signed the letter.

I’ll keep my eye on it, and I do think other challenges may arise, including other suitors and other legal questions.

What do you think? Will anything come out of this letter? Will something else derail the deal? Do you personally see a problem with the deal, and if so, what is it? Feel free to tell me and my users what yu think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†ūüôā¬†

ReDigi revisited: will you be able to sell “used” e-books?

May 16, 2017

ReDigi revisited: will you be able to sell “used” e-books?

I last wrote about ReDigi more than four years ago

Judge rules against ReDigi, making Amazon used e-books more likely

so it was quite interesting to see it pop up in the news again, especially in this

Publishers Weekly article by Andrew Albanese

Let’s start out with taking a step back, and looking the issue from outside this specific case.

There are advantages and disadvantages to e-books (electronic books) versus p-books (paperbooks).

When the Kindle first caused the explosive growth in what had been a marginal part of the market back in 2007, the differences were more pronounced.

Some of the advantages of e-books were (and still are, for the most part):

  • No need for storage
  • Lighter to carry
  • More accessible, especially through enlargeable fonts (but also through text-to-speech)
  • Many free books available
  • Many more less expensive books available (there are a lot of ninety-nine cent Kindle books available)…this doesn’t mean that e-books are always less expensive than their p-book equivalents
  • Multiple people on the same account can be reading the same book at the same time in different geographic locations
  • Books are able to “stay in print” longer
  • Onboard dictionaries and other references
  • Independent publishing is much easier, leading to more diverse offerings

Some of the advantages of p-books were

  • No platform issues (you didn’t need a specific type of device to read your purchase)
  • Color
  • Ability to give as a gift
  • Ability to donate
  • Ability to sell and buy used
  • Lower entry price point (you didn’t need to buy an expensive device to get into it, even if the content later could be cheaper with e-books)

You probably noticed that I didn’t say that the p-book advantages are the same in the way that I did with the e-books.

That’s because e-books have been catching up with p-books in some ways.

We can now give Kindle books as gifts (at least, within the same market…USA to USA, for example).

We can now see e-books in color (on tablets…that wasn’t really available until there was a joining of the e-book market and tablets).

We can gift e-books to non-profits, and through

AmazonSmile

have Amazon donate to non-profits we choose.

In terms of the high initial cost, e-books can be read on SmartPhones and computers much more effectively, making it practical for many people to read Kindle books without first buying an expensive device…that, and the entry level price of a Kindle

Kindle E-reader ‚Äď Black, 6‚Ä≥ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi ‚Äď Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

has come down from just about $400 to about $80 at time of writing (about an 80% reduction), with tablets available even less expensively.

Still, we can’t sell used e-books.

I’ve written about that quite a bit before. The basic thing is that when you buy a Kindle book, you are really buying a license to read it. It’s very different from buying a physical copy of a book, and just like e-books versus p-books, there are advantages and disadvantages. I wrote about those in this popular post of mine:

How an e-book is like a treadmill at the gym

which I also wrote about the same time as the last time I discussed ReDigi.

That brings us back to that specific case (see how I did that?). ūüôā

ReDigi tried to set up a used e-book marketplace. They tried to emulate the way selling a used p-book works. The seller would, effectively, surrender their license. ReDigi would hold it, then re-sell it to someone else, taking a cut.

That’s not exactly it, but the key argument was that there wasn’t a duplication of the ownership: no more people had access to the e-book after the sale than had access to it before.

A judge ruled against ReDigi, although it was more on the process (which created an unauthorized copy) than on the concept.

ReDigi went into a type of bankruptcy.

Now, at the time, Amazon was also considering setting up an authorized e-book resale market, although it didn’t end up happening.

Legal cases can take a very long time, even decades, to finish. As I read what happened recently (and I am not a lawyer), the winners made a tactical mistake, and wanted ReDigi to go into a different, more permanent kind of bankruptcy. That opened up a line of defense for ReDigi, like when someone in a criminal case calls a witness or opens a line of inquiry that lets the other side use tactics which would otherwise have been out of bounds.

It’s possible that this case will determine new definitions of Fair Use, and may open up that used e-book after all (and, by the way, could clearly establish the right of the owner of a copy of a paperbook to digitize that book for their own use…that’s generally assumed to be the case now, but it would be nice to see it much more “officially” decided).

If that happened, what would it mean?

One possibility would be a rise in the price of tradpubbed (traditionally published) e-books.

Authors don’t get a cut when you buy a used p-book in a used bookstore, so the initial price of the p-book takes that into account. It’s part of why paper textbooks are so expensive: they may be resold several times.

If the same sort of thing happens with e-books, then those prices might also go up.

That might mean that indies (independently published) books get more of a price advantage…although the resale market would presumably affect them as well. However, the resale for a lesser known author could be a lot less likely than for a brand name author, so there may be less risk for them. Some indie authors are also not trying to make a living at it (although many are), which means they again feel less pressure if they don’t maximize their revenue. That might be true if, for example, what they really want is to be read, and they either have an effective day job or don’t need income.

Readers could benefit from the system because they might be able to buy books more cheaply and recoup purchase costs through resale.

Tradpubs really don’t want this to happen. One of their arguments is that a used p-book has been degraded, and will eventually fall apart and not be able to be resold. A “used e-book” is a perfect replica and the same license could hypothetically be sold hundreds of times. This is similar to what they have argued about library licenses in some cases, when, for example, they restrict the number of times a book can be loaned before a new license needs to be purchased.

My feeling is that the best solution is probably one similar to what Amazon was considering, where the resales are licensed and controlled. I don’t feel like you automatically have the right to sell a contract…your apartment landlord can say you can’t sublet. The idea does appeal to people, and by making it legal, the author could actually be compensated multiple times for the sale of the same book…potentially making a used e-book market better for authors than the p-book market.

We’ll see what happens…

What do you think? Should consumers be able to sell “used” e-books? How much does that matter to you? If they can sell them, how should publishers and authors be compensated? If a market was established, how would that affect the market? Do you care about selling used e-books…have you just accepted that you don’t do that with e-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

My current Amazon Giveaways

Amazon Giveaway for And Then There Were None!

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/3e6a60b4814649a3

Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winner.
Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
18+ years of age (or legal age)

Start:May 12, 2017 6:24 PM PDT
End:Jun 11, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

===

Star Wars Day through 40 years of Star Wars!
Giveaway by Bufo Calvin
  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
    • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
    • Follow @TMCGTT on twitter
    • 18+ years of age (or legal age)

Giveaway:
https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/0ce7b24b32a4a670

Start:May 4, 2017 6:32 AM PDT
End:Jun 3, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

It‚Äôs going on that long in part so that it covers the actual 40th anniversary of Star Wars (of the release in the USA) on May 25th 2017. Also, this book, which has good reviews and is new, is $14.99 in the Kindle edition‚Ķwhich is a lot for me for a giveaway. ūüôā

Good luck, and may the Force be with you!

‚ÄĒ

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

the award-winning, highly-rated mystery by my sibling, Kris Calvin!

Giveaway: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/398897583537603c

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
  • Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Kris Calvin on Amazon (to my knowledge, all that you‚Äôll get is a notification when Kris publishes a new book in the Kindle store, although I don‚Äôt know that for sure‚Ķthat‚Äôs all I‚Äôve ever seen for authors I follow, I think. Kris is working on the second book in the Maren Kane mystery series.

Start:May 10, 2017 7:44 AM PDT
End:May 17, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

Thanks to the hundreds of people who have entered my previous giveaways for a chance to win Kris‚Äô book! I don‚Äôt benefit directly from Kris‚Äô book, although we have had a lot of conversations about it. ūüôā

‚ÄĒ

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

 * I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Start looking for your Apple e-book settlement payout

June 21, 2016

Start looking for your Apple e-book settlement payout

Some, perhaps many, of the readers of this blog are going to start seeing payouts from the Department of Justice’s action against Apple for e-book pricing tactics.

This is in addition to a payout you may have received previously. There was more than one legal action (many of the states’ Attorneys General also settled with publishers). The DoJ originally went after 5 of the then Big 6¬†publishers (not Random House, who initially didn’t go along with the “Agency Model”)…there are only 5 of them left after Penguin and Random House combined (not, unfortunately, using my suggested name of “Random Penguin”). ūüėČ The publishers settled; Apple fought it and eventually did not prevail (and¬†that might have been affected by the absence on the US Supreme Court).

I’m not seeing anything on Amazon’s site yet, at least about this new payout (the previous payout is on a Help page).¬† I would expect that we will get e-mails about it.

Here’s the

press release

from Hagens Berman the “…consumer-rights class-action law firm” which worked with the DoJ and Attorneys General in this case.

If you took the payout last time, you should just automatically get it this time (if you are entitled to one).

How much you get depends on what you bought, when you bought it, and where. It could be pretty substantial, though. It’s $6.93 for a qualifying New York Times bestseller and $1.57 for other e-books.

My understanding is that how you use the credit will not be mandated…you won’t have to spend it on e-books, although many of you will. ūüôā

I’ll be curious: I’d appreciate it if you comment on this post to let me and my readers know when you get an Amazon e-mail about this.

Oh, and for my readers outside the USA (I have readers all around the world), this doesn’t impact you, since it was a legal action inside the USA.

Enjoy your settlement money! So many options! The Big 5 will probably get a short term¬†benefit from this…but it would be interesting if consumers chose to buy books from other companies, or perhaps they can use the money for

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and read and discovered a lot of non-Big 5 authors. ūüėȬ†Not sure it will even be an option, but that might be a good way to test out KU (if you are comfortable with how authors get¬†paid…I’m sure not all of my readers are).

Update: I’ve gotten my e-mail…I’m pleased with just over $40! Amazon chose to indicate that the e-mail was copyrighted, so I won’t reproduce it for you (if an e-mail is not indicated as private or otherwise protected, my understanding is that the recipient can reproduced it without permission…again, just my understanding of it). The key things are that it shows up as a credit in your account, and although they direct you to the Kindle store, it does appear that it would work for things that a gift card would generally do (not periodicals, but most things). You have one year to use, according to the e-mail, by order of the court. By the time I looked at it, it was gone. ūüôā A Subscribe & Save order (we love that…we “subscribe” to physical items we get regularly, like dog food and toothpaste, and get a 15% discount) and another order took it. So, it did behave like a regular gift card.

Several of my readers have reported their amounts (see the comments)…thanks, readers! They’ve ranged from $1.57 to close to $200.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*¬†I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

It’s over for Apple: Supreme Court denies certiorari in e-book pricing case

March 8, 2016

It’s over for Apple: Supreme Court denies certiorari in e-book pricing case

It’s the end of the line.

I’ve been writing about this literally for years, and it has been a very important story. It’s also been perhaps a tale of unexpected consequences.

First the quick headline, then some thoughts about it.

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States denied Apple (and a bunch of other cases) “cert”. What that means is that they did not certify that Apple’s loss at a lower court level in a case brought against it by the United States Department of Justice over e-book pricing deserved additional review.

The lower court’s¬†ruling was clear enough that it didn’t need to be re-examined.

Even simpler: Apple loses.

Consumers will get some credit to buy e-books.

Now, let’s look at the stories within the story.

Apple is vulnerable

The DoJ also went after the biggest U.S. trade (the kinds of books you would have bought in a bookstore…not textbooks and such) publishers…all of which settled.

Apple fought on, and many people figured Apple had the resources to fight on as long as they wanted.

The thought was that Apple is so big, has so much money, and does so many court cases that, unlike the publishers, it was worth it for them to keep pouring money into this.

One again, they lost.

I’m not sure, but it’s possible the vacancy on the Supreme Court affected this. I’ve read that Justice Scalia would likely have supported Apple…and if this needed a majority and it was split (they don’t tell us much when they deny cert), that would have done it.

The tradpubs made a crucial strategic error

Here was the situation:

Amazon entered the very marginal e-book market (Sony was in it, but not much was happening in the USA with e-books) in 2007.

Part of their strategy was to promote that most bestsellers and new releases would be under $10…considerably less than the hardback equivalents (at least based on the publisher’s suggested retail price…but even discounted, those hardbacks were often above $10).

To do that, they clearly often sold the books at a loss: they paid more to the publisher than they got from the customer.

The publishers didn’t like that.

One of¬† their biggest concerns was “price value perception devaluation”. Who would pay $25 for a hardback when, according to Amazon, $9.99 was the right price for a popular new release novel?

While it does cost somewhat less to produce an e-book than a hardback (an early analysis said it was about 12.5% lower, as I recall…many of the costs, such as editing, lay-out, legal are the same), the margin on hardbacks (the profit you can make) was higher…and they were selling a lot more p-books (paperbooks).

What could they do, though? Realistically, if they wanted to be in the exploding e-book business, they pretty much had to go with, and cooperate with, Amazon, which absolutely dominated the market.

Then, in the tradition of tempting Apples ūüėČ , the maker of the iPod offered the tradpubs (traditional publishers) a path.

Apple was getting ready to release a new device…a small, flat, super-portable¬† computer. There were precedents in fiction (Star Trek: The Next Generation’s PADD, for one), but what would become the massively successful iPad was a big project.

The hardware innovator wanted to include books as part of the package and launch. It’s questionable if they really were that focused on the books in and of themselves, or whether they saw them more as a selling point for the device. If Apple hadn’t been introducing the iPad, would they ever have launched the iBooks store?

They wanted to get¬† the prestige of having the major publishers onboard, and they knew those companies weren’t happy with Amazon.

Apple offered to let the publishers set the prices the consumers paid (within certain parameters) through something called the “Agency Model”.

The Agency Model is not, in and of itself, illegal. The DoJ alleged that Apple and the tradpubs coordinated in its use to raise e-book prices…that was the problem.

In my opinion, the tradpubs made a very big error.

They accepted the plan, and raised  e-book prices on the most popular titles.

Why was it a mistake?

I’m seeing so many stories reporting this as it slowing the growth of the e-book market…perhaps critically wounding it.

I don’t think that’s what happened at all.

What it did was cede the market, in large part, to indies (independent publishers).

Indies had a very hard time having much of an impact on p-book sales. I was the manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore…it just wasn’t practical for us to carry independently published books, for the most part. They didn’t have the resources to make selling their books practical. If I needed 100 copies in two days, they couldn’t do it, for example.

E-books changed all that.

You didn’t need book factories and distribution Godzillas. You didn’t have to fight for shelf space…it was pretty much infinite.

Indie e-book sales were present before the Agency Model came into being in 2010, but I think that move by the publishers and Apples greatly accelerated the market growth for the “outsiders”.

When I did an analysis of USA Kindle store bestsellers in January 2012, three of the top twenty them were from indies:

Top 20 analysis January 22 2012

When I did a similar analysis in January of this year, the story was different: none of the top ten were from Big 5 publishers.

None of the top 10 bestselling USA Kindle store books are from the Big 5

That’s not exactly apples to apples (so to speak), but it seems very clear to me.

At least at Amazon, the Big 5 share of the market for bestsellers has significantly eroded.

I think the tradpubs thought that raising e-book prices would mean that they would make more money…because people would keep buying their books at the same rate.

Instead, many readers instead discovered other options…and they’ve stuck with them.

You can’t undo that discovery.

The news stories reporting e-book slowed growth are actually reporting the Association of American Publishers reporting slowed growth…which might be more than offset by indies (although those stats are hard to get).

I think the publishers may also have wanted to “teach Amazon a lesson”. They did: they taught Amazon that the e-tailer could do its own publishing, at least for e-books, and do very well. ūüėČ Brick-and-mortar bookstores didn’t, for the most part, want to carry Amazon’s p-books, but in e-books, they are often at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list (thanks in part to Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)).

It’s about journalism

This case would have been very different without journalism.

Journalist Walt Mossberg was chatting with Steve Jobs at the iPad launch…and Jobs said that e-book prices would be the same at the then launching iBooks store and Amazon.

All Things Digital post by Kara Swisher

That was major evidence against Apple.

I think it’s also important to note that, while Mossberg had mainstream credentials, this was much more a new media incident. It wasn’t a sit down interview. It wasn’t even an ambush interview at Apple’s front door. It was a casual exchange which was recorded on a handheld, shaky Flip cam (remember those?), and then posted online.

You can watch the video (the e-book exchange is right at the beginning) in that Kara Swisher post (I’m relinking for those using screen readers: All Things Digital post by Kara Swisher).

I think those are the three main stories. It’s possible the pay-out to we consumers will boost the e-book business…we’ll get a credit to buy more e-books, as I understand it, not cash.

While this has been an important story, and I’m happy to have been able to provide whatever help to people in understanding it and its implications that I could, I won’t deny some relief in seeing its conclusion.

What do you think? Have questions? Do you think this was a good decision? How does it affect the future of e-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Round up #310: Amazon sues over false reviews, membaca lebih banyak buku

October 19, 2015

Round up #310: Amazon sues over false reviews, membaca lebih banyak buku

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Follow up to a recent post on translations

I recently wrote

Found in translation
about Amazon’s commitment to their AmazonCrossing imprint, which translates works.

Following that, Amazon sent me this, which does not appear in their normal press release archive:

AmazonCrossing Announces Spotlight on Indonesian Literature 

Amazon Publishing commits to publish Indonesian authors beginning in 2016

Spotlight part of $10 million investment to increase publication of international books into English

SEATTLE‚ÄĒOctober 15, 2015‚ÄĒ(NASDAQ: AMZN)‚ÄĒAmazonCrossing, the literary translation imprint of Amazon Publishing, today announced a commitment to publish exceptional works of literature from Indonesian authors translated into English beginning in early 2016. The announcement coincides with Indonesia‚Äôs participation as Guest of Honor at the Frankfurt Book Fair this week.

Indonesian titles planned for publication include:

  • Nirzona, a love story by Abidah El Khalieqy, set against the backdrop of the Aceh tsunami, a rare moment in recent history when the world‚Äôs eyes turned to Indonesia
  • English-language originals The Oddfits and The More Known World, the first two titles in the Oddfits series from Indonesia-born Tiffany Tsao, a translator and past Indonesia editor at large forAsymptote Journal
  • Paper Boats, a new adult love story written in glittering, quotable prose from popular novelist, actress, and singer Dee Lestari
  • A new edition of Laksmi Pamuntjak‚Äôs acclaimed A Question of Red and her latest, Aruna and Her Palate, which follows a food writer‚Äôs travels through Indonesia
  • Hummingbird, a stunning work of magical realism from Nukila Amal

‚ÄúAmazonCrossing is committed to bringing great authors and stories to a global audience, and our spotlight programs have offered an opportunity to focus attention on a range of books from specific countries‚ÄĒsomething we plan to do more of as part of our continued commitment to the translation imprint‚Äôs expansion,‚ÄĚ said Sarah Jane Gunter, Publisher of AmazonCrossing and General Manager of International Publishing, referring to previous programs showcasing literature from Iceland, Brazil, and Finland. ‚ÄúIndonesia‚Äôs contributions to world literature are not often available to English-language readers and this spotlight reiterates AmazonCrossing‚Äôs commitment to bringing stories into English from languages less frequently seen in translation.‚ÄĚ

‚ÄúI feel like my writing and I are difficult to categorize,‚ÄĚ says author Tiffany Tsao. ‚ÄúThe Oddfits resists classification in many respects. And as someone affiliated with multiple cultures and places, I don‚Äôt fit easily into ready-made boxes either. I‚Äôm so incredibly happy to be working with a publisher adventurous enough to give oddness a chance.”

The Indonesia spotlight program follows similar AmazonCrossing programs in past years featuring literature from Finland, Iceland and Brazil. The Finnish spotlight program included Katri Lipson‚Äôs European Union Prize for Literature-winning literary thriller The Ice Cream Man, as well as books by Leena Lehtolainen, Jari J√§rvel√§, Marko Hautala, and Risto Isom√§ki. The Brazilian spotlight program launched in 2013 and has included the release of a dozen books of full-length fiction and short stories from Brazilian authors including Luiz Ruffato, Cristov√£o Tezza, Josy Stoque, and Eliane Brum. In 2012, the Iceland spotlight program included ten Icelandic books, three of which‚ÄĒThe Hitman‚Äôs Guide to Housecleaning by Hallgrimur Helgason, The Flatey Enigma by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson, and House of Evidence by Viktor Arnar Ingolfsson‚ÄĒbecame Kindle Top Ten best sellers.

The AmazonCrossing editorial team is accepting submissions in mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, memoir, science fiction and fantasy categories. Please visit translation.amazon.com/submissions for more information and to propose titles for translation.

Amazon Publishing is a brand used by Amazon Content Services LLC and Amazon Media EU Sarl.

About Amazon Publishing

Amazon Publishing is the publishing arm of Amazon.com. The Amazon Publishing family has 14 imprints: 47North, AmazonCrossing, AmazonEncore, Amazon Publishing, Grand Harbor Press, Jet City Comics, Lake Union, Little A, Montlake Romance, Skyscape, StoryFront, Thomas & Mercer, Two Lions, and Waterfall Press.

About Amazon
Amazon.com opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995. The company is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon.

_____________________

Amazon also did this press release (which is in the public archive):

Amazon Announces Winner of the Second Indie Literary Contest for Spanish-Language

The winner was Myriam Millán, with her title

La Hija del Dragón: Ganadora del Concurso de autores indie 2015 (Spanish Edition) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

It’s available for $0.99, and at no additional cost for members of

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ve been a happy member since it started. ūüôā It’s been worth the $9.99 a month for my family.

I’m very happy to see Amazon not only working on globalization, but also embracing multiple languages.

Amazon sues over 1,000 fake reviewers

In a way, this is another follow up.

I recently wrote

The Sunday Times investigation shows bought reviews on Amazon

Well, now it turns out Amazon is suing 1,114 fake reviewers, according to this

Forbes article by Cheryl Connor

and other sources.
.
As explained in this

Seattle Times article by Jay Greene

this is Amazon’s second suit this year over false reviews.

Lawsuits are probably the right tool here. As I wrote before, it’s not clear that writing a false review for money is a criminal act, but a lawsuit could work, since Amazon could show damage. I’m not a lawyer, but that’s my understanding of it.

New Amazon Echo/Alexa round up

I alert my ILMK readers when I write new articles in another blog of mine, The Measured Circle, about the Amazon Echo and Amazon’s Alexa voice services.

This is my latest:

Alexa/Echo Round up #3: sports update, Alexa enabled phone calls on first 3rd party Alexa-enabled device

What do you think? Should Amazon be suing people who make $5 for a false review? What, if anything, should they do about false reviews? Do customer reviews actually make sense? Are you familiar with any Indonesian literature? Is there another culture you’d like to see get a focus from Amazon? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

*¬†I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.¬†

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Apple takes e-book pricing to the Supreme Court

September 18, 2015

Apple takes e-book pricing to the Supreme Court

“Never give up, never surrender!”
–Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, played by Jason Nesmith, who in turn is played by Tim Allen
Galaxy Quest
screenplay by David Howard, Robert Gordon

The Department of Justice case against five of the biggest USA trade publishers and Apple was settled so long ago (June of 2013) that the settlement-induced injunction against the Agency Model has expired for the publishers (and a modified version is back in effect).

The only party that didn’t settle was Apple.

They are good at fighting in court…and they have enough money to do it for pretty much as long as they want.

Well, until the options run out, anyway.

The Supreme Court is the final option in this case.

In this

Apple document filed with the Supreme Court

Apple requests an extension of a month to file their case to the Supreme Court…they currently have until September 28th of this year, they’d like it to go through October 28th.

Why do they need another thirty days?

They’ve been busy. ūüôā

This isn’t the only legal issue in which Apple is involved, and there are only so many world-class, Supreme Court worthy lawyers available to work on them.

Given that they say, “This question is exceedingly important to the United States economy…” it does make one wonder a bit about their priorities. ūüėČ

Apple’s primary argument appears in section 2, which includes

“Before Apple entered the e-books market, Amazon held almost 90% of the market for e-books, which Amazon sold for use on its closed Kindle system.”

Therefore, according to them, they needed to work with the publishers to be able to challenge that market control, which “…suppressed competition and innovation”. Essentially, the assertion goes, Amazon’s low pricing (sometimes charging customers less than what Amazon paid to the publisher) made it unattractive for other people to enter the market (who couldn’t afford to do that), and threatened to result in publishers not making e-book available.

Both of those may be true.

That wouldn’t justify an illegal action, of course…the question here is whether the earlier court decisions (the initial ruling against Apple by Judge Denise Cote and an appeal) against Apple were done on a valid basis.

It’s worth reading their case for the extension.

What does all of this mean for we readers?

Either Apple has September 28th or October 28th to file this request to the Supreme Court…the latter if the Court grants an extension.

My understanding is that if they don’t grant the extension, that might also indicate a rejection of the appeal.

If the appeal doesn’t happen, Apple owes something like half a billion dollars. That’s a lot of money, but they could handle it.

If the appeal was upheld, and the early decisions were overturned (which could take some time)?

It’s a vindication for Apple, and they don’t owe the money…but, and I’m not an expert, I don’t think it results in any particular actions going forward. I don’t think it changes how e-books are priced, for example. It could affect how future negotiations go on other issues.

I’ll keep an eye on it, but honestly, I’ll be happy when there is closure on this. ūüôā

For a good analysis, I recommend this

Forbes post by Roger Parloff

What do you think? Will the Supreme Court grant the extension? Will they hear the case? What does it mean if Apple wins…or loses? Do you even care at this point? ūüôā Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Note: I plan to do another post on the new Amazon hardware in the couple of days, following yesterday’s initial coverage:

Amazon hardware announcements! $50 tablet, 10″ tablet, Fire TV 2

I intend to do something like a buying guide, to give you a sense of why you would pick one over another, why you might or might not want to upgrade, and what other options you might have. 

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #304: One Murder More giveaway, swarming Amazon

August 22, 2015

Round up #304: One Murder More giveaway, swarming Amazon

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Amazon under attack

I know, I know…Amazon is always under attack. ūüėČ That’s what happens when you are a leader, and when you position yourself in the market as doing things differently.

You could also say it was predictable that there would be a bigger pushback when Amazon started making a profit. When they aren’t, you can say your company is smarter than they are and that they don’t have to do things like Amazon. If they can be “different” and make a profit, that can be a problem for a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of another company.

Whats been happening?

There is still a huge buzz around the article I discussed here:

New York Times describes Amazon as a ‚ÄúBruising Workplace‚ÄĚ; Bezos¬†responds

I’ve seen lots of things, even an article comparing Jeff Bezos to Chairman Mao (not the usual despotic leader you see referenced on the internet…maybe they are just trying to avoid getting a ticked under Godwin’s Law). ūüėČ

Then, there is Authors United, a group formed during the Hachazon War (the negotiations between Amazon and the publisher Hachette), which includes some really well-known authors (Nora Roberts, Scott Turow…).

According to this

The Digital Reader article by Nate Hoffelder

and other sources, the group has sent a letter to the USA’s Department of Justice (DoJ) asking them to investigate Amazon for anti-trust activities.

Interestingly, the letter is on the Authors Guild website, not the Authors United one:

https://www.authorsguild.org/industry-advocacy/a-call-to-investigate-amazon/

The Authors Guild has fought with Amazon before…and with other people. One of its major functions is legal advocacy.

The DoJ, of course, went after Apple and five of the major publishers over e-book pricing…and at the time, some people accused them of being influenced by Amazon to do so.

The DoJ will look at the documentation.

As I understand it, it isn’t enough to dominate a market…it will have to be more than that for action from the DoJ.

Then there were comments from Washington Congressperson Suzan DelBene, when she and Nancy Pelosi visited Amazon, just days after the New York Times article.

They were actually there because Amazon supports an LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) bill…they were on the same side.

However, they both had to address the “brutal” article.

DelBene said:

“I’ve supported legislation on family leave, access to childcare, equal pay for equal work,” DelBene said. “Again it’s about making sure people don’t have to make decisions on taking care of their family and going to work, or being sick and going to work, so these are policy issues we’ve been talking about a long time.”

Neither legislator directly accused Amazon or confirmed the report…but they weren’t refuting them, either.

You know who isn’t attacking Amazon?

Customers and investors. ūüôā

The New York Times article came out August 15th.

The stock rose slightly on the 17th (the next trading day), and dropped only slightly the next two days. Yes, it went down quite a bit Thursday and Friday…but the whole market did.

I can’t present good stats on customers not changing their buying habits because of it…we’ll see what happens at Amazon’s next financials. I haven’t seen a lot of negative social media coming from regular buyers of Amazon…

I’ve changed Alexa!

Yes, my

Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

coverage has largely moved to my other blog, The Measured Circle

Amazon Echo category at The Measured Circle

although I do link to the articles from here.

However, I was really excited about this, and wanted to share with you…this blog is part of the context. ūüôā

I started a hashtag: #TeachAlexa, where I suggest questions (or comments) and answers (or responses) that Alexa should know.

Amazon responded to one of my postings in their Twitter feed…and Alexa knows it now!

Q. “It’s a bird…it’s a plane..”

A. “It’s Superman.”

Someone has already posted a video online of the exchange. ūüôā

How is this blog part of the context?

I don’t think Amazon has ever mentioned ILMK in a tweet. I don’t think I’m owed that, although ILMK has been one of the most popular blogs in the USA Kindle store for years.

Honestly, I was blown away by the mention!

More writing days?

I really need to start taking more PTO (Paid Time Off) days to write! I’m still earning more vacation days a year than I take, and that’s going to build up too much…eventually, I’ll max out.

I’ve been saying I’ll take a day a month without my Significant Other here, so I can get some more writing done. Things have been super busy…I’m keeping up, but barely.

We’ll see…I’m a pretty disciplined person, but it’s hard for me to take PTO.

Australian parents’ group protests Amazon giving kids books

Sigh.

In Australia, Amazon is giving a choice of a book rather than a toy with a Happy Meal.

According to this

Los Angeles Times article by Michael Schaub

The Parents’ Jury is asking regulators to stop the practice.

You know, because it’s better for kids to get toys than books?

I suppose it’s nice that they think books are so tempting to kids…

National Foundation of the Blind protests Amazon

Amazon has an interesting relationship with disability issues.

In some ways, they have been a quantum leap forward. Including text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 (at no additional price) was big.

Allowing publishers to block  it (after they complained) may have been unavoidable, but was a step backwards.

Amazon does do a plug-in that allows screen reader software to read the books even if the publisher blocks the access…another step forward. There is a link to download it on this page, along with additional information about accessibility:

Accessibility Help Page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Then, there was the Kindle DX.

Amazon had introduced the larger screen EBR (E-Book Reader), with an announcement that included deals with major textbook publishers.

Well, organizations, including the National ¬†Federation of the Blind, took legal action against it…because non print challenged students got more benefit from them than print challenged students:

Flash! Arizona State University and blind organizations settle lawsuit

Now, one of my readers, David Goldfield, alerted me to this NFB blog post:

https://nfb.org/blog/vonb-blog/we-must-stop-amazon-fail

The post¬†is…strongly worded.

Here is a short  excerpt:

“…a vote for this deal is an outrageous act of deliberate discrimination against blind students…”

That vote is coming soon…August 26th.

This is a perfect example of one reason I do the round ups. I would want to investigate this more before I would do a full article, but I wanted you to be aware of it before the vote.

Thanks, David!

Giveaway of my sibling’s book

50 copies of my sibling’s book

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

are being given away through Goodreads

One Murder More on Goodreads

It’s only the hardback, but I think some of you might be interested in that. At the time of writing, 288 people are in the drawing…the drawing goes through September 17th.

On Goodreads, its rated 4.13 out of 5 stars with 31 ratings.

On Amazon, it’s 4.8 stars with 52 reviews…quite impressive!

The Kindle version is $4.99 at time of writing.

Good luck!

What do you think? Have any of these accusations changed your opinion of Amazon? Do you think they’ll impact Amazon in the future? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

ABA tells DoJ that PDFs “…cannot be displayed on a Kindle”

July 14, 2015

ABA tells DoJ that PDFs “…cannot be displayed on a Kindle”

Yesterday, Authors United reportedly sent a letter to the United States of America’s Department of Justice, presenting reasons why the DoJ should investigate Amazon’s action with regards to bookselling.

You can read that letter, and what is presented as a supporting letter from the American Booksellers Association, here:

American Booksellers Association article by Dave Grogan

While my personal feeling as a reader, writer, micro-publisher (just my own works), and a former manager of a brick-and-mortar bookstore, is that Amazon has been good for consumers of books, I’m not a lawyer. It may be that they have done things worthy of investigation. Oh, I can offer my opinion on that, as can you (and anyone), but I can’t be an “expert witness” on the law.

However, I can reasonably provide guidance on a technical statement about the Kindle’s capabilities. I’ve been writing this blog for close to six years, and it is one of the top selling blogs of any kind in the Amazon Kindle store. I’ve written and published books about the Kindle. Amazon made me oen of their “Kindle Forum Pros”. While it could be argued that I am aligned with Amazon (I have gotten money from them, for example, in royalties), and I would expect that to be the case if I was testifying in court, I think my credentials to comment on a general statement of Kindle capabilities are valid.

The ABA letter, as shown in the above article, says in this short excerpt:

“3. Closed Kindle E-book System: Unlike other e-readers, Kindle e-readers and the Kindle app are configured to allow readers to only read books sold by Amazon and using its proprietary format. E-pub and PDF formats, which are industry standard formats widely read on other devices, cannot be displayed on a Kindle, further enhancing and perpetuating the retailer‚Äôs 65 percent e-book market share. – See more at: http://www.bookweb.org/news/authors-aba-doj-investigate-amazon%E2%80%99s-abuse-its-dominance-book-market#Authors United Letter”

Since the Kindle 2 in 2009, Kindles have been able to display PDFs.

If I were writing a letter to the Department of Justice, I’d be very careful and precise in my assertion of facts.

In terms of the rest of the content of the letters, I think my biggest skepticism is with the suggestion that Amazon has been a net negative for the “…free flow of ideas in our society…” (as the Authors United letter has it).

Was it really easier to get your ideas into society before Amazon greatly grew the e-book market with the introduction of the Kindle?

Let’s say that someone believes that, oh, kittens telepathically control the volume level ¬†of the commercials you watch on TV.

I’m deliberately creating something that I’ve never heard anybody say, and that I think would be unlikely to appeal to a wide swath of the book-buying public. Popular ideas, which can be projected to sell large amounts, are never going to have the barrier to publication that unpopular ideas are going to have…there is money to be made.

In the primarily p-book (paperbook) world, it would have been very difficult to make a book about the ¬†KTCH (Kitten Telepathy Commercials Hypothesis) easily available to people. A mainstream publisher would be unlikely to publish it. Without a mainstream publisher, it would have been very hard to get the book into bookstores (believe me, when I managed a store, people would occasionally try to get me to carry a self-published book…wasn’t going to happen, primarily for a number of logistical reasons).

Now, the book can be made available with the same distribution options as the latest blockbuster from a brand name author.

Not only that, the book will be available more inexpensively. Many people will have the ability to read it with paying no additional cost over their Prime membership, or as part of their

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

membership.

The author/publisher can even make it available for free on at least a few days in certain programs.

I don’t see how that doesn’t make ideas flow more freely.

Yes, it’s possible that Amazon’s publishing guidelines may keep some books out of availability through the Kindle store. Those platform guidelines don’t exclude a whole lot, although some types of books may be excluded. If Amazon chooses not to have them, though, my guess is that they are the same sorts of books that most brick-and-mortar bookstores would not have carried. “Underground” distribution options still exist…just as they did before the Kindle.

Importantly, the book could be distributed as a text file…and that could be read on most Kindle devices/apps, with the same technology as Kindle store books. An author might not make money on a book without Amazon, but the idea could get out there. Could one argue that people will be less likely to put their ideas out into the market if they have ¬†to use one distributor (and whatever terms that distributor uses) to make a living? That’s possible…but in terms of the sorts of society-benefiting ideas being implied by the letters, I think authors would distribute them even if they couldn’t make a living doing just that.

I guess the bottom line for me is that I’d be okay with an investigation of Amazon in terms of bookselling. I think there wouldn’t be any broad negative findings. It could be possible that certain policies might need to change (some of their exclusivity/most favored nation** clauses, perhaps), but establishing the legality of their efforts which have made it easier for authors to make books available, and for readers to obtain those books, would be valuable.

What do you think? Should the DoJ investigate Amazon? Are the authors and publishers working together a case of “odd bedfellows”? Do you think Amazon has been good or bad…or both…for readers/consumers? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

*¬†I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you‚Äôll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)‚Ķand the good feeling you‚Äôll get.¬†:)¬†Shop ‚Äôtil you help!¬†:)¬†By the way, it‚Äôs been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to ‚Äústart at AmazonSmile‚ÄĚ if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

** A “most favored nation” (MFN) clause basically requires that a supplier not offer a better deal to a distributor’s competitors than it does to the distributor. For example, it could be that a publisher can’t give a book away for free while it charges Amazon for it. While many companies do that, it always feels like restraint of trade to me…I think it’s reasonable to pay a supplier extra money for exclusive distribution, I don’t think one distributor should set the contract requirements between a supplier and another distributor.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

Apple’s appeal denied: SCOTUS bound?

July 2, 2015

Apple’s appeal denied: SCOTUS bound?

It says something about the size of your company when you can say that you aren’t really concerned about the nearly half a billion dollar you stand to lose…it’s the principle¬†of the thing. ūüėČ

Quick recap first:

When Apple was going to introduce the iPad, five of the then six biggest USA trade publishers (trade books are the books you would have bought in bookstores…not textbooks and such) switched to the “Agency Model” for e-books. In the Agency Model, the publisher is the official seller of the book (not the retailer, like Amazon or Barnes & Noble)…and the publisher sets the price the customer pays for the book. They offered that as the only arrangement to Amazon, which fought at first, but eventually adopted the model.

The United States Department of Justice went after Apple and the publishers for anti-competitive actions.

The five publishers settled.

Apple took it to court.

Apple lost.

Apple appealed Judge Cote’s decision.

According to this

Yahoo News post by Aaron Pressman

Apple lost this round, in a two-to-one decision.

Macmillan and Simon & Schuster, despite having settled, joined the appeal…essentially arguing that the restrictions placed on Apple also affected them.

I recommend you read the

decision

Here is a key section in a small excerpt:

11 We conclude that the district court’s decision that Apple orchestrated
12  a horizontal conspiracy among the Publisher Defendants to raise ebook prices is
13¬† amply¬† supported¬† and¬† well‚Äźreasoned,¬† and¬† that¬† the¬† agreement¬† unreasonably
14  restrained trade in violation of § 1 of the Sherman Act.  We also conclude that the
15  district  court’s  injunction  is  lawful  and  consistent  with  preventing  future
16  anticompetitive harms.

Continuing, the court is, shall we say, unimpressed with the arguments presented:

17    Significantly,  the  dissent  agrees  that  Apple  intentionally  organized  a
18  conspiracy among the Publisher Defendants to raise ebook prices.  Nonetheless,
1  it  contends that Apple was entitled to do  so because the  conspiracy helped it
2¬† become¬†an¬† ebook¬†retailer.¬† ¬†In¬†arriving¬†at¬†this¬† startling¬† conclusion¬†‚ÄĒ¬†based¬†in
3¬† large¬†measure¬†on¬† an¬† argument¬†that¬†Apple¬†itself¬†did¬†not¬† assert¬†‚ÄĒ¬†the¬†dissent
4  makes two fundamental errors.  The first is to insist that the vertical organizer of
5¬† a¬†horizontal¬†price‚Äźfixing¬† conspiracy¬†may¬† escape¬† application¬†of¬†the¬† per¬†se¬†rule.
6  This  conclusion is based on a misreading of Supreme Court precedent, which
7  establishes  precisely  the  opposite.

I have skimmed the entire decision and the dissent, and will probably get through all of it in the next week or so.

The judicial dissent to the decision, to me, doesn’t seem to be defending what Apple did specifically (saying it was a good thing), but arguing that the majority misapplied the law.

Where does it go from here?

Apple could pay about $450 million…consumers would get some money.

Apple could appeal, getting to the Supreme Court…which might, as is argued in the Yahoo piece, decide in Apple’s favor, at least based on the current makeup of the court.

I’m not a legal expert, although I do follow things at the Supreme Court, somewhat. My intuition is that SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) might simply decline to hear the case. I think it depends, to some extent, as to whether the or not the Supreme Court agrees with the dissent in this most recent decision: was the law misapplied.

Otherwise, the bar is pretty high. You appeal a decision asking the higher court to determine if what the lower court did was right…it’s not exactly about your “innocence or guilt”, it’s about the competence of the lower court.

The lower court is, in a way, innocent until proven guilty. When you argue your Supreme Court case, we start with the assumption that the lower court was correct…and the appellants have to ¬†prove it wasn’t.

It’s worth noting that the Agency Model is back. It wasn’t the Agency Model itself (much as I dislike it personally) that was the problem, according to the DOJ: it’s that it was used collectively to control prices.

Why do I dislike the Agency Model?

I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, so I freely admit that I could be prejudiced…but I want the retailers to compete on prices. I want Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble to set their own prices as a way to affect sales…not have the publisher set the same price for all stores. The new version of the Agency Model at Amazon modifies that a bit, allowing Amazon to do some discounting…but, as a customer, I like stores having pricing as a tool.

What do you think? Will Apple appeal? If they do, will they win? How invested are you in getting money from Apple over e-book pricing? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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