Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Apocalypse Has Commenced

Currently reading - Heartless by Gail Carriger (MMPB)

It took a little longer than I thought, but the craziness of agency pricing has finally hit the litigation fan. Hagens Berman, a national law firm, filed a class action suit on August 9th against Apple, Harper Collins, Hachette, Macmillian, Penguin and Simon & Schuster, alleging the illegal fixing of e-book prices.

Major players in an industry that collude or conspire to fix pricing of a particular commodity is a major no-no under the Sherman Act.  And this is off the top of my head.  I'm sure Hagens Berman threw a ton more anti-trust statutes into the complaint.

How will the fallout of this lawsuit affect us indies?

Ironically, we're benefiting from agency pricing in two ways:

1) In agency pricing, the publisher sets the price, not the retailer.  Guess what, folks? We're the publisher.  When we discuss price points on J.A. Konrath's blog comments, are we colluding that $2.99 is the price we all agree to charge for e-books?

2) By the major companies mentioned in the lawsuit sticking to their higher price structures, don't we benefit from their agreement to keep their e-book prices so inflated?  We can undercut them with ease right now.

As a consumer, I'm not happy when I can buy a hardback copy of Jim Butcher's Ghost Story for less than the e-book price.

But as an indie writer, I want Jim's publisher to balloon the e-book price because then, maybe, some reader on the hunt for a good urban fantasy may try Zombie Love instead.

So, what do y'all think of this lawsuit?  Pros?  Cons?

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