Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

03/14/2012

Publishing Intrigue Con’t: Is Government About to kill Real competition to Save Appearance of Competition?


Gov't Killing Competition?

Hopefully not!

The jury is still out. While the Justice Department is weighing the past, present and future course of the publishing industry (in trying to tame the nefarious price-setting practices of e-books — and by extension of all books), opinionated speculation is running rampant!

This digital-era-caused publishing shipwreck upon ‘conscience island’ could just be the best thing that has ever been visited upon the publishing empire.

Why ? Because the forced dealing with recent ethical questions like price-setting below profitable margins just to run peripherals out of business and create a more monopolistic advantage, will hopefully lead to a clearing up of abuses and unethical practices that existed under the old traditional publishing business model as well!  

But, in order for this to take place, the DOJ must put it’s best foot forward with a real commitment to create a publishing landscape that fosters open and fair competition. Good prices for all concerned will then follow — based on fair market value — not cookie-cutter, one-price-fits-all, dip-shit prices (that will be raised, without any recourse, in the future when the true monopoly is firmly established).

This from Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times:

Scott Turow: Apple didn’t collude, it offered an e-books life raft

Last week shivers shot through the world of publishing when news broke that the U.S. Justice Department warned Apple and five major publishers that it was investigating them for alleged collusion, the Wall Street Journal reported. At issue was the price of e-books: When Apple launched the iPad, five major publishers adjusted their pricing schemes from a wholesale/retail model to an agency model.

In December, Justice Department official Sharis A. Pozen told a House subcommittee that the antitrust division was investigating e-book pricing. A source told the New York Times that the department hopes to decide by the end of April, when Pozen is leaving, whether to file suit against Apple and publishers  Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, HarperCollins and Macmillan.

That would be a mistake, writes Scott Turow, a bestselling author, a lawyer, and head of the Authors Guild. In an update on the Authors Guild website, he writes:

We have no way of knowing whether publishers colluded in adopting the agency model for e-book pricing. We do know that collusion wasn’t necessary: Given the chance, any rational publisher would have leapt at Apple’s offer and clung to it like a life raft. Amazon was using e-book discounting to destroy bookselling, making it uneconomic for physical bookstores to keep their doors open.

Just before Amazon introduced the Kindle, it convinced major publishers to break old practices and release books in digital form at the same time they released them as hardcovers. Then Amazon dropped its bombshell: as it announced the launch of the Kindle, publishers learned that Amazon would be selling countless frontlist e-books at a loss. This was a game-changer, and not in a good way. Amazon’s predatory pricing would shield it from e-book competitors that lacked Amazon’s deep pockets.

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12/27/2011

Quality Will Be Top Factor For E-Books In 2012


More quality e-books? It was always in the cards.

When digital hit the scene in the publishing universe … and players of all levels realized the most obvious, surface advantages … everybody jumped into the fray even before the fine points and nuances where finely tuned; while the new baby was still struggling to walk, you might say. Just get your work into digital format as quickly as possible … and ‘quickly’ was faster than ever due to the new and ever evolving tech.

This rush to the promised land often sacrificed quality … Just ask all the armchair quarterbacks:)

But, as some realized from the beginning, quality would again become a paramount factor … especially when the pricing dust settled down a bit and good content would howl for proper reward.

Please read my latest post (E-Book Publishing Trends in 2012) on the Writers Welcome Blog for more background on this subject.

Now this survey from MarketWatch with some interesting forecast numbers:

eBook Survey Predicts ‘Quality’ As The Top Factor For 2012

Survey Shows That Readers Will Shun Poorly Digitized eBooks

Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL), a leading provider of digital publishing services, reports 70 percent of 411 respondents to a survey drawn from a cross section of the publishing industry cited ‘quality’ as the most important consideration when publishing an eBook. Another important finding is that 63 percent of the respondents plan to publish a digital book in 2012.

“Eighteen months ago, more publishers were concerned about getting their information onto an eBook platform and quality was not the overarching theme it is now,” said DCL President and CEO Mark Gross. “The survey demonstrates that the publishing industry realizes consumers will not tolerate typos and bad formatting in a $15 eBook,” predicted Gross.

In another shift from tradition, 64 percent of the respondents stated they were interested in publishing non-fiction and technical digital content. This statistic is indicative of an expansion in the use of e-readers from casual reading of novels to a myriad of business and technical applications

“The survey confirms what we have been hearing from publishers, that while the initial push to digital was important, they are now seeing a need to go with the best partners and to improve their quality control and workflow,” said Bill Trippe, vice president and lead analyst at Outsell, Inc. an industry analyst firm. “Digital products are becoming the lifeblood for publishers, and consumers are expecting an optimal experience,” he added.

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