At the Kindle Community Forums last night, I was struck by a few who actually insisted in the strongest terms that Apple's Steve Jobs and the Big 5 (which doesn't include Random House because they weren't allowed into the Apple iStore due to their disinterest in the Agency model at the time) had nothing to do with Amazon's raising prices and that Apple came into the arena later on.. So, I posted a timeline there and will include one here also, with an added paragraph.
January 26, 2010
Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg wrote, for the Wall Street Journal at the time it happened (Jan. 26, 2010), before ebook prices were raised, that Steve Jobs was in NY, to talk with the big publishers, and S. Jobs was suggesting they charge higher prices and use Apple's Agency Model.
' Apple is asking publishers to set two e-book price points for hardcover best sellers: $12.99 and $14.99, with fewer titles offered at $9.99... '
Once they all came to an understanding and had Jobs/Apple as leverage against Amazon's insistence on lower prices for NYT bestsellers and once Jobs had the publishers behind his brand new iBook store (that had few books (~60,000) AND (as mentioned) he would not allow Random House, the largest publisher, into the iBook Store because they refused to do Apple's Agency plan), the Big5 publishers felt they could force Amazon to the Agency model by not providing e-books to them otherwise.
As we've seen, Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs quotes him on this specific activity:
' "We told the publishers, 'We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway." They went to Amazon and said, 'You're going to sign an agency contract or we're not going to give you the books.' " '
January 27, 2010
THEN when Apple did the launch of the iPad the next day, a VIDEOclip at the end of the event, shows Mossberg asking Jobs why a shopper would buy a book for $14.99 from Jobs when they could buy it for $9.99 from Amazon.
Jobs says that this "won't be the case."
Mossberg asks (and this videoclip is part of the lawsuits) if Jobs meant Apple's wouldn't be $14.99 ... or that Amazon's wouldn't be $9.99.
Jobs paused and said "The prices will be the same."
And, as you can see, this was said -before- the bulk of NY Times Bestsellers went up to ~$12.99 to $14.99++ at all stores after having been at $9.99. And customers have been quite angry when the e-book price is higher than the hardcover price.
Here's the full videoclip and story.
January 30, 2010
On January 30, 2010, Amazon pulled Macmillan books over the Agency model issue. And then, as reported, Amazon "caved in."
February. 1, 2010 - from news story linked above
' Amazon.com says it will give in to publishing giant Macmillan and agree to sell electronic versions of its books even at prices it considers too high. '
That White Flag image headed my blog post of Jan. 31, and the opening was that
'Brad Stone of the New York Times just tweeted that Amazon has "capitulated" to Macmillan's terms. 'Stone moved on and is now a senior writer for Businessweek and seems to be able to write longer, even more detailed articles now.
So, it's all documented
It's also further confirmed by Isaacson's quoting of Jobs (see above) describing, in the biography how Steve Jobs and the Big5 did discuss it, did agree to raise prices that could not be lowered by any one store unless all of them were given permission by the publishers, and were telling Amazon that it would be the Agency model or nothing, with the new leverage they had from the iBookStore.
More detailed set of newspaper stories that includes much more than this
This set details the "History of the E-book Pricing Wars - Articles, Video, with Sourcing"
As regular readers of this blog know, the set of detailed newspaper stories from that time in chronological order includes linked sources for all of it. The set is at the bottom of that first page.
As I mentioned on the Kindle forums, I'd like some feedback if possible to see if this timeline is new to many and whether, maybe, most newspapers not reporting it in the substantial detail that a very few did served to keep it pretty much out of view of general readers.
I think that it seemed so political and publishing-focused at the time that most newspapers and readers were not following it closely.
Creative and very amusing take on the blog defense Friday by the President of the Authors Guild, Scott Turow
You can read this at Joe Konrath's blog posting, "Barry, Joe & Scott Turow."
There are many indications that most authors would do better financially in the new world of digital publishing as long as they safeguard their rights to the e-book editions of their work.
UPDATE - Another article making some excellent points:
From Let's Get Digital, David Gaughran responds to Scott Turow in Scott Turow: Wrong About Everything It's a strong piece.
Thanks to Q for the URL.
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