Texas Attorney General investigating Apple, publishers over e-book pricing

invisibleSHIELD case for iPad“Texas’ attorney general is investigating Apple and publishers for possible anti-competitive e-book pricing, multiple sources said on Wednesday,” Electronista reports. “At least Hachette and HarperCollins have confirmed they were asked to provide documents, but Apple is also believed to be a target. The WSJ speculates that the investigation may have to do with Apple’s preference for an agency model on the iBookstore, where publishers have control over the pricing.”

“The focus likely would be on the higher prices that have stemmed from Apple’s approach, which has transferred to Amazon as publishers negotiate similar terms for the Kindle. Although some books for the iPad cost the same $10 as they have on the Kindle, many newer bestseller titles cost $13 to $15,” Electronista reports. “Texas may be concerned that the rejection of the Kindle’s wholesale model, where books carry a fixed pre-sales price, is artificially driving prices upwards.”

Electronista reports, “It’s not clear if the investigation, which hasn’t yet resulted in formal accusations, will make progress.”

Read more in the full article here.

47 Comments

  1. Call in a Grand Jury.
    If that doesn’t work, call in another.
    If that doesn’t work, call in another.
    If that doesn’t work, call in another………..

  2. Artificially driving prices upwards simply because sellers are allowed to set their own price???? Has all common sense left America?

    Guess what Mr. Texas AG…. If the prices are higher than people want to spend, publishers will won’t sell their books. Artificially holding prices down does more damage in the long run because the market has no chance to make the consensus of the masses known.

    This is all about some a-hole trying to gain some notoriety by attacking a high profile company. I hope this guy is run out of office.

  3. @dues ex technica

    People in Texas buy books from iBooks and Amazon, no?

    @ breeze

    Amen

    Other than that I am kind of split on the whole iBooks pricing thing. I DO NOT like paying more than I have to, especially for ebooks. I do not like the fact that Apple’s pricing structure is causing Amazon to raise some of their prices. And to show my displeasure I download most of my ebooks from the Kindle App instead of iBooks.

    Now, that being said, I am not against publishers charging a higher price for a predeterminate amount of time for new releases. Most new releases are issued in hardcover resulting in higher prices and I would wager higher margins. That is a model we as consumers are used to

  4. Welcome to America… Land of the free (to let idiots in public office do whatever stupid moronic fucking thing they can for political gain.

    People who whine about the price of e-books being the same as paper books are being silly…

    The price of books has NOTHING to do with the media the book is distributed on… Paper, optical disk, digital bits with DRM, laser etched on glass or fucking engraved on marble slabs, or sheets of polished stainless steel studded with crystal cabochons…

    What you are paying for is the fucking book, dickheads. The monies mostly go to the publisher, but that’s the traditional model in the US…

    Anyhow, the agent model works because it is based on the concept of supply and demand… Little demand, low price. High demand, higher price… Simple. Not even remotely unfair…

    Does that mean I would sooner pay a higher price when I could get it for less? Well, it depends… Most books are just a lot of words, so If anything, i’d rather have it in a digital format and could pay whatever price I felt the actual content was worth to get it that way, even if I could get it in a pocket paperback for a fraction of the price… I don’t need more clutter in my life and the whole concept of browsing a used bookstore is not my cup o tea… On the other hand, if one bookstore had it for less, well, the cheaper one probably win out.

  5. Amazon was subsidizing e-book prices (they made up the difference between the publishers price and $9.99) to ensure market monopoly. It seems unlikely Texas can demand that every other e-book seller take the same loss. Most likely they just want to review the books for adherence to the Texas view of reality.

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