I have exciting news for my fellow digital book readers, particularly those of you who use Amazon. Bear with me as I provide an overview of what went down.
Once upon a time, Amazon sold all popular “adult” trade paperback e-books for 9.99, which made readers grumble but ultimately tolerate/accept it. Amazon was doing well with this e-book pricing because it ompromised between value for its customers and the exorbiant prices the then-Big Six publishing companies expected for e-book copies. One day, the Big Six companies and Apple demanded that Amazon raise the prices of e-books to 12.99 and up, prices that were closer to or equal to print copies. This meant that digital readers were paying full price for non-tangible items that could be easily deleted and not easily shared with others. It was decided during a groundbreaking court decision that Apple and the then-Big Six publishing companies were not allowed to collude (gang up) on Amazon in ordering them to raise their e-book prices.
This decision held for about a year and recently Apple filed an appeal against having to repay digital readers for their sneaky actions and having to promise that they will never again collude with anyone. On Monday, March 7th, Apple was once again spanked by the court when their appeal was rejected. e-Book readers, we may be seeing more popular literature at 9.99 (or other reasonable prices) again!
I turned to Bloomberg, one of the ultimate business and finance websites, for the details on this amazing news. Writer Greg Storh published a piece on Monday, March 7th, the same day as Apple received their bad news and e-book consumers received their good news, entitled “Apple Rejected by U.S. Supreme Court in $450 Million E-Book Case.” The US Supreme Court “without comment, turned away” an appeal by Apple, leaving the federal appeals court ruling essentially in favor of reasonably-priced e-books and anti-collusion laws. Apple attempted to argue their Supreme Court appeal by saying that their actions of collusion and “price fixing” was a positive step for consumers, providing competition due to a new e-book platform. Apple is forced to comply with a settlement it reached with states in 2014 in which it will pay $450 million for the damages it caused. The Justice Department said that as part of the settlement, consumers will receive credit for any e-book they overpaid for. For additional information written in legal terminology, you can search for “Apple v. United States, 15-565”.
While I can’t speak for all digital readers, I am so excited about this news and getting the word out.