Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ebook Pricing Issues Could Wind Up in Court

This week’s hot topic in the publishing world is that the U.S. Department of Justice has told Apple and five of the big six publishers that they are facing lawsuits for colluding to raise the price of ebooks. The complaint is that Apple and the publishers are making books more expensive for consumers by altering the way retail prices are set. Whether the lawsuit proceeds remains to be seen, however the outcome could have a big impact on Barnes & Noble.

But there’s more to the story. Author’s Guild president Scott Turow has written a letter stating that the lawsuit would be grim news for anyone who cherishes a “rich literary culture”. Hmm. I’m not exactly sure what he means by that, and as you’ll see below, neither do Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler. I won’t go into a lot of detail or analysis here, but Turow apparently views amazon and the changes they’ve brought to the publishing and bookselling world as a huge threat to traditional publishers and brick and mortar stores. There are a number of points made in the letter, but at the end of it he says that the lawsuit could kill real competition in order to save the appearance of competition. You can draw your own conclusions after reading the letter at

Finally, Joe Konrath and Barry Eisler have responded to Turow’s letter, shall I say, less than favorably. To start with, they are also suspicious of words like “rich literary culture” and have their own take on the situation, which you can read at

And you think you have trouble finding the right price point for your ebooks? Sheesh! Things seem to get more complicated and tumultuous every month, and I find myself asking, do they really need to be?

THE OPPOSITE OF DARK, now available for iphones, iPads, and iPodTouch at Also available in paperback at and on Kindle at


Gwynneth White said...

And this is why we follow your blog! Thanks for this, I am now off to the read the links. I think the whole pricing of books and ebooks is completely nuts, starting with books given away for free and ending with ebook costing the same as paper books. but I really don't want to see the Big Six win this. Fascinating times ahead.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thank you for your kind comment, Gwynneth. I try to keep people informed!