Recent events for Apple and their ‘stable’ of digital publishing houses have not emerged as a PR specialist might like, not that Apple is shy of controversy (it’s brand is that strong it doesn’t seem to bother anyone!)
Investigations by the US department of Justice (DOJ) which were to look at disputed collusion to increase ebook prices involved t5 publishers namely Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Since the action by the DOJ three have settled (April 11th) out of court whilst further investigations are afoot for the final two. The three settlements were reached with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan continue to contest the charges.
So the question is will Amazon become a monopoly if Apple were to lose their case? The answer would have to be no but wholesale selling from Amazon will be a threat. The settlement has assured that the three who have settled are free to lower ebook pricing and the re-introduction of the Wholesale model.
Apple are joint defendants in the proceedings so for them only to lose out would be difficult, the final two publishers involved have a lot to lose too, but all will return to the market to sell further ebooks so nothing too huge to be lost. The final outcome would be some form of damages and a refund which could only be a logistic nightmare.
The question abounds though as to whether this will draw down the expectations of the consumer when it comes to epublishing, Amazon have thwarted opportunities in some ways in this market before, selling ebooks initially at lower than cost, but unless they were to make some very unusual decisions over the coming months their chances of success are unlimited.
Whilst Apple will not be leaving the market it is as likely that Amazon will end up in a monopoly. Meanwhile Apple strive ahead and of course one is not to forget their plans to also provide content for ebook stores via ebook creator iAuthor which are destined for iBooks only due to more small print.
The image above was created by digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net who are here.