U.S. court denies Apple’s bid to delay e-books damages trial

“A U.S. appeals court on Thursday rejected Apple Inc’s bid to delay a July trial to determine damages after the company was found to have colluded to fix the prices of e-books,” Joseph Ax reports for Reuters. “In a brief order, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the July 14 trial should proceed as scheduled, while Apple separately pursues its appeal of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote’s ruling that it conspired with five publishers to raise e-book prices.”

Ax reports, “Cote ruled last year after a non-jury trial that the conduct of the iPad maker impeded e-book competitors such as Amazon.com Inc.”

MacDailyNews Take: Only because she’s an idiotic puppet of an incompetent and delusional DOJ.

Lady Elaine Fairchilde (left), Judge Denise Cote (right),or vice versa
Lady Elaine Fairchilde (left), Judge Denise Cote (right), or vice versa

Ax reports, “More than two dozen state attorneys general joined the Department of Justice in suing Apple over e-books price fixing. Those states, as well as a group of consumers, are seeking up to $840 million in damages. The exact amount of damages will be litigated before Cote at a trial scheduled for July 14.

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The farce continues.

To paraphrase Scott Turow, the president of The Author’s Guild: The irony of this bites hard: our government has killed real competition in order to save the appearance of competition.

Related articles:
Apple’s Star Chamber: An abusive judge and her prosecutor friend besiege the tech maker – December 5, 2013
In pretrial view, judge says leaning toward U.S. DOJ over Apple in e-books case – May 24, 2013
Lawyers have complained for years that Judge Denise Cote pre-judges cases before she enters the courtroom – August 14, 2013

Amazon’s Bezos has gone too far: The e-book monopolist may finally face a court of law – May 25, 2014
U.S. Federal Puppet Denise Cote: ‘Apple’s reaction to the existence of a monitorship underscores the wisdom of its imposition’ – January 16, 2014
Judge Denise Cote denies Apple request block her friend as ‘antitrust compliance monitor’ – January 13, 2014
Antitrust monitor Bromwich rebuts Apple accusations of ‘unconstitutional’ investigation – December 31, 2013
Apple seeks to freeze its U.S. e-books ‘antitrust monitor’ – December 15, 2013
The persecution of Apple: Is the U.S. government’s ebook investigation out of control? – December 10, 2013
Apple’s Star Chamber: An abusive judge and her prosecutor friend besiege the tech maker – December 5, 2013
Apple takes aim not just at court-ordered e-books monitor, but also at U.S. District Judge Denise Cote herself – December 2, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge Denise Cote assigns DOJ monitor in Apple ebook price-fixing case – October 17, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge issues injunction against Apple in ebooks antitrust case; largely in line with what DOJ wanted – September 6, 2013
U.S.A. v. Apple: Judge Denise Cote says Apple needs third-party supervision after ‘blatant’ ebook price fixing – August 28, 2013

33 Comments

  1. That seems a bit odd to me, most people publishing ebooks will normally set the price the same wherever they place the book for distribution. Plus with eBooks I am pretty sure that Amazon reserve the right to adjust the price of a book on their site if they find it being sold cheaper anywhere else. It’s not like there are any manufacturing costs to take into account with an ebook either, where someone can get a cheaper deal from a different supplier, it is all about whether someone is prepared to pay the asking price, whatever it is set at.

    Seems to me that, with eBooks, there is always going to be some form of price fixing. Because that’s how it works, the only thing that really changes is the amount of commission the distributor takes.

    1. I can see your point. And it may be valid for authors selling directly or very small publishers which have small volume. The rules may be different when you want to sell in volume however.

  2. You do not understand the fundamental issue. Amazon can sell the publishers e-books at any price it chooses, even below the price Amazon pays to the publishers, because the publishers sell outright to Amazon on “the wholesaler basis”. On this basis, the legal title for the “product” is held by Amazon and Amazon can do anything it wants with it. This is how publishers sold physical books to other distributors, and it makes sense for physical books. But e-books are not physical books. The marginal cost of selling one more e-book is virtually zero. So there is no sense for publishers to have sold e-books to Amazon on anything but the agency basis, in which Amazon is simply a middleman, with publishers determining the selling prices of their e-books and Amazon receiving an appropriate commission as the middleman. On the agency basis, the legal title to the publishers’ e-books remains with the publishers, who can determine the prices at which they can be sold. For its trouble, the selling agent receives a commission.

    1. How about you think about it like this. With the Wholesale model the Publishers got paid upfront for a large number of copies of each book/ebook (physical book for HC/PB and licenses for ebooks). Under the Agency model both the Publisher and Storefront get paid if and only when a book/ebook sells. The wholesale model will allow the Publisher to then quickly make money back, whereas the Agency model will take a longer time depending on pricing and the potential audience.

      1. If what you describe were true, then everything would be hunky-dory and the publishers would have no reason to complain. But this does not agree with reality. The publishers were and are unhappy about Amazon’s selling publishers’ valuable titles in e-book format below the price at which the publishers sold them to Amazon. (The publishers wanted to sell e-books as incremental business, not as a substitute for their primary business of physical books. But Amazon wanted to peddle their e-book and Kindle businesses.)

        Amazon has no interest in the publishers and has no qualms to ruin them. Amazon is happy to dis-intermediated the publishers in favor of Amazon’s authoring/editing/online publishing tools. And/or whatever Amazon pays to subsidize these loss sales, they expect to make the money back on Kindle sales or their own online publishing ventures. It is called killing a market.

        There are only a few good reasons to sell products below cost, like selling excess inventory or slow-moving items (liquidation), luring customers in to a store to buy other stuff (loss leader sales), or putting the hurt on competitors (predatory pricing).

        The dynamics of digital book publishing argue that the appropriate basis for publishers to sell e-books to any distributor is the agency basis. This allows the publishers to maintain control over the retail prices of their e-books so that they can best manage their total book publishing business, which includes physical books and e-books. There are many companies that sell products on the agency basis. It is not illegal. And it makes a lot of business sense in a lot of situations.

        1. Well, I would figure it is true otherwise the publishers would not have the funds to pay advances to authors. It may be true Amazon wants to force publishers to change their business model or go out of business.. But Amazon’s power here is all due to how much business Publishers WANT to give Amazon for their own profit. From what I understand the book/ebook portion of Amazon’s sales are now well into the single digits. When you wholesale something you are trading off long term revenue for short term. This may be necessary to keep a business running especially for ‘goods’ that may lose potency/popularity over time.

  3. Repeat: the publishers do not like the deal they made with Amazon: they have realized it is a mistake. And they probably did not realize it was a mistake until they saw Amazon discount the publishers’ new and best-selling books — the only ones they made any real money on, which funds their future business. But the DOJ has prohibited them from changing their minds. The DOJ is calling it “collusion”.

    The author’s union also does not like the Amazon e-books case outcome.

    Think about it.

    Over and out.

    1. If you have understood the final ruling, the publishers have been punished for collusion because that is exactly what happened. The ruling also goes into allowing the various publisher in the suit to once more pursue Agency pricing in the future but has staggered that time period amongst them so that the same situation of collusion would be difficult to execute once more. So the Agency model can still be pursued, just not in the way that made it illegal like it has with this case. So no, the DOJ did not prohibit using the Agency model, they prohibited the manner in which it was undertaken.

      Please submit a link for the author’s union opinion on this collusion case outcome.

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