Feeds

Publishers, Apple bend over for EU eBooks probe

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

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Facebook pays INFINITELY MORE UK corp tax than in 2012
Thanks for the £3k, Zuck. Doh! you're IN CREDIT. Guess not
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
YARR! Pirates walk the plank: DMCA magnets sink in Google results
Spaffing copyrighted stuff over the web? No search ranking for you
In the next four weeks, 100 people will decide the future of the web
While America tucks into Thanksgiving turkey, the world will be taking over the net
Microsoft EU warns: If you have ties to the US, Feds can get your data
European corps can't afford to get complacent while American Big Biz battles Uncle Sam
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.