The case in which Apple, Barnes and Noble, and other major publishers agreed that the publisher sets the price for ebooks (and not the retailer) is an interesting one.
Forty years ago, it was the norm for manufacturers, publishers, or the people who created the product to set the price. All retailers (and wholesalers who were given a cheaper price because they bought en masse) could only sell at the same price.
The system worked very well.
There was a greater equality in this world (the golden age of the 50s and 60s) and it's where the myth comes from that everybody could get their own business and succeed.
That was because one retailer could not compete with another retailer on the bases of price; they had to compete on the bases of service and other stuff. It prevented companies with sufficient capital cutting the price to the bare bone, and therefore forcing competitors out, and then increasing the price and 'charging according to what the market would pay."
In other words, allowing retailers to set the price has forced most small business out of the market and allowed enormous corporations to become very rich and manipulate not only the market, but politics as well.
When manufacturers or originators set the price for their goods, it does not mean that prices are too expensive. There are, after all, other manufacturers are well who compete! What it does mean is that small retailers cannot be forced out of business because someone else with more capital has forced them out of business.
Amazon's response to the charges are that it doesn't matter that they had 90% of the Ebook market before the Agency agreement, that if they can provide the product as cheaply as they do, then that is all that matters.
Yet, interestingly, enough, the moment prices were set, Amazon went for 90% market share to 40% market share. That means that, not only, did people not mind or prefer to do business elsewhere, but that it shifted business from a monopoly situation to a more equitable situation.
I am 100% for returning to the way business was set up in the 50s and 60s. I think it worked. Life was more equitable.
I'm really disappointed that there's no one that is interested in this. It affects virtually any writer who wants to write books - whether ebooks or others. In the longer term, it also affects whether an economy is equitable and successful.
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