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Bye Bye $9.99 and Price Competition in eBooks | The Digital Reader
The mantra for many ebookers over the past year or so was “get rid of agency pricing and bring back lower ebook prices based on competition.” These ebookers are ecstatic over the approval of the settlement terms in the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against five of the Agency 6 publishers and Apple by Judge Denise Cote on September 6, 2012. I think it is way too early to celebrate and I think ebook prices of bestsellers will rise, not become lower. To set the mood to say goodbye to $9.99, here is a song from the past — Don McLean singing his Bye Bye Miss American Pie: Now that you’ve been entertained, let’s discuss why I think we can say goodbye to the $9.99 bestseller and to real price competition among the big publishing houses which control the majority of popular publishing today. The first problem lies within the settlement agreement itself. As Judge Cote wrote (p. 10 of the Opinion & Order filed September 6, 2012), the publishers, although they cannot use agency pricing, which presumably means a return to the wholesale pricing of the preagency days, can “enter into contracts that prevent the retailer from selling a Settling Defendant’s e-books at a [...]