eBook Price Fixing Trial

The price setting trial against Apple and five of the Big Six Publishers had its closing arguments earlier this week. This being a writing and reading community, I was curious what your opinions were on the trial. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, The United States Department of Justice filed charges accusing Apple and five large publishers of conspiring to fix ebook prices when Apple opened the iBookstore. The case has been tried for the last three weeks and concluded Thursday (i.e. June 20th.) This are two pretty good blog post via GigaOM summarizing the trial and the concluding arguments Thursday in case you’re confused.

http://paidcontent.org/2013/06/20/doj-compares-apple-and-publishers-to-oil-cartels-now-sit-back-and-wait-for-the-verdict/

http://paidcontent.org/2013/06/21/the-best-slides-from-the-closing-arguments-in-the-apple-ebooks-case/

So what’s everybody’s opinion on the trial? Do you think Apple and the Publishers broke the law? What’s your reaction as a reader to that nice graph in the DOJ slideshow showing the jump in ebook bestseller prices immediately after the opening of the iBookstore? How do you think this trial will affect the online sales industry as a whole or specifically for digital content like books, music, movies, etc?

As an ebook consumer, the clear price jump associated with the opening of the iBookstore annoys me, even if it doesn’t affect me directly because I rarely buy best sellers, or new release hot-off-the-shelf type books. But it’s the principle of the thing! Whether this means Apple broke the law or not, I really can’t tell. Frankly, I’m a little mystified by the legal system and I’m still not 100% sure what the DoJ’s burden of proof is in this case. It’s my understanding that the language in the contracts signed by Apple with the publishers is pretty standard for Apple with other types of digital media (i.e. music in the itunes store) so a guilty verdict could potentially have far reaching ramifications in other areas as well. What those are I’m not totally sure. Hopefully a more open market? Hopefully lower prices for consumers? But it’s hard to say. Anyway, that’s my two cents, what do you all think?

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Microbiology graduate student, book blogger, science blogger, and sometimes fiction writer.

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