Feeds

Publishers, Apple bend over for EU eBooks probe

They'm scurvy price-dogs, arr, but be Black Jeff Bezos worse?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Four of the publishers in the Europe’s antitrust ebooks price-fixing probe, along with Apple, have offered to scrap their agency model in Europe and allow retailers to set any price they want for ebooks.

The offer, if accepted, would hold good for two years. The parties have also offered to suspend "most favoured nation" clauses for five years.

The publishers - Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, the Hachette Book Group – made the offer last month, but it’s been disclosed by the European Commission today.

The publishers and Apple continue to dispute the Commission’s finding from August that they acted against the public interest. It stems from Apple’s agreement with publishers to shift from wholesale pricing to an agency model in which the publishers set the retail price, and the retailer takes a percentage cut.

The agency model is not, in itself, illegal, and smaller publishers who were not identified as colluding with Apple are free to continue to use it to price their books.

While the alleged price collusion is bad, monopolies are arguably worse.

Publishing industry supporters argue that encouraging price-cutting comes at a steep cost to consumers – handing Amazon a retail monopoly and destroying a publisher’s ability to negotiate any kind of deals in the future. Amazon is free to give away books at cost and make up margins on other products.

A familiar refrain from Eurocrats is the threat to European culture from rapacious American corporations. It is curious to hear the same Eurocrats ease the pauperisation of European authors. With Amazon's aggressive moves into publishing itself, authors may ultimately have to forgo cash payment, and settle for two of Jeff Bezos’ magic beans.

In the United States, MacMillan Penguin and Apple are fighting back against the antitrust department, and a trial is likely next year.

More details are in this four page document (pdf) interested parties have a month to comment on the proposals. ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
BBC: We're going to slip CODING into kids' TV
Pureed-carrot-in-ice cream C++ surprise
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Twitter: La la la, we have not heard of any NUDE JLaw, Upton SELFIES
If there are any on our site it is not our fault as we are not a PUBLISHER
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Facebook to let stalkers unearth buried posts with mobe search
Prepare to HAUNT your pal's back catalogue
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?