From Digital Book World by Richard Curtis:
Paul Aiken, Executive Director of the Authors Guild, has issued an open letter to the chief of litigation in the Department of Justice’s antitrust division, expressing its opposition to the DOJ’s proposed settlement of the price-fixing charges against Apple and several major publishers. We reproduce it in full below.
Feel free to forward or comment. Here it is at our blog: Guild’s Tunney Act Filing to the DOJ
The Guild does not support the DOJ’s proposed e-book settlement. We believe it will allow Amazon to resume its predatory pricing practices, discouraging competition in the e-book marketplace. We thank those who have sent their comments on the settlement to the DOJ. Here is the Guild’s Tunney Act filing:
I’m writing to express the Authors Guild’s firm belief that the proposed settlement of the Justice Department’s lawsuit alleging that five publishers and Apple colluded to introduce agency pricing to the e-book market is not in the public interest. The settlement is flawed by an astonishing provision, specifically requiring three large publishers to allow e-book vendors to routinely sell e-books at below cost, so long as the vendors don’t lose money over the publisher’s entire list of e-books over the course of a year.
…by allowing targeted predatory pricing of e-books, would give governmental sanction to a practice long considered destructive to a free and fair market. It was precisely this practice – selling frontlist e-books at below cost to discourage and destroy competition – that helped Amazon capture a commanding 90% of the U.S. e-book market. Agency pricing, which the Justice Department believes was introduced through collusion, has allowed Amazon’s competitors to gain a foothold, driving Amazon’s market share down to 60% in two years….
The proposed settlement will almost certainly backfire and harm readers in the long run….
The Justice Department’s assessment of the literary market offers but a pinhole glimpse of the genuine competitive landscape. Its competitive impact statement fails to discuss the relationship between the print book market and the e-book market, for example, or the critical distinctions between the online book market and the brick-and-mortar market. Most importantly, it fails to mention Amazon’s monopolistic reach and reflexive anticompetitive habits, the dominant features of the current competitive landscape….
There simply is no growing segment of the book market that Amazon doesn’t dominate.
Even more troubling is the competitive impact statement’s failure to discuss how Amazon uses its command of the online book market and its deep pool of capital to undermine competition….
You are also highly encouraged to make sure you’re up to date on your blood pressure medicine before clicking the links.
The Authors Guild has made previous comment on this suit as discussed here on The Passive Voice blog. Today it’s about their official filing.
As most of you know, PG is enjoying his vacation and is not here to chime in. I think he’d have a lot to say about this one, but then again, I’m sure all of you have something to say as well.
~contributed by guest bloggers William Ockham and Kat Sheridan