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Colluding To Make Books Expensive

So remember a while ago when I mentioned that publishers wanted to collude to make ebooks really expensive?

Mr. Young lays it flat out: that laws prohibiting anticompetitive collusion and price-fixing are having a “chilling effect” on major publishers’ attempts to collude, fix prices and thwart competition.

Funny story: The law be damned, they went ahead and tried anyway. And the U.S. Government, rightly contending that price fixing is illegal, appears to have a solid case. Three of the seven publishers being sued by the U.S. Department of Justice for said collusion have reportedly settled already. Including the Hachette Book Group where the aforementioned Mr. Young may still be CEO in a month, or may not.

Like all those named in the suit the Hachette Book Group publishes quite a bit of crime fiction, stories you’d think would give them some insight into why your savvier white-collar criminals don’t preannounce their intention to engage in illegal business practices in the business section of the New York Times. And yet here we are.

So if you’d like a good look at what naked greed, fear and stupidity looks like, there you are.

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  1. Mike Kozlowski

    Buggy whip manufacturers are ALSO troubled (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/business/media/amazon-to-cut-e-book-prices-shaking-rivals.html?_r=1&hpw=&pagewanted=all). Relevant quote:

    ‘Traditional bookstores, which have been under pressure from the Internet for years, fear that the price gap between the physical books they sell and e-books from Amazon will now grow so wide they will lose what is left of their market. … “It will look like blue skies,” said Lorraine Shanley, a publishing consultant. “But in the longer term, competition erodes as the spread between e-books and physical books grows greater. There will be fewer retail stores.”’

    Welcome to modernity, guys. I’d pity you, except you made sure that I already hate you.