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Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


MacMcK1957 wrote:
Actually, toaster, now that you mention it, I'm currently reading Kirk Douglas' book about the making of Spartacus. Fascinating first-person history, and currently a steal at $3.99 for the Nook book. I highly recommend it.

More OT?  Wrong thread?

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


keriflur wrote:

MacMcK1957 wrote:
Actually, toaster, now that you mention it, I'm currently reading Kirk Douglas' book about the making of Spartacus. Fascinating first-person history, and currently a steal at $3.99 for the Nook book. I highly recommend it.

That does look really interesting.  I noticed the file size is 6MB.  Are there a lot of images?  Are you reading it on an N2E or NC/NT?


Okay for members of a small clique to move OT?  If somebody else does it, you complain.  Perhaps you have posted in the wrong thread? 

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MacMcK1957
Posts: 2,326
Registered: ‎07-25-2011
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case

I've been reading it on my NST but a quick glance through the book on my iPad shows most of the images (except for the stills from the movie itself) are only in black and white anyway.
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frantastk
Posts: 743
Registered: ‎06-29-2010

Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


deesy58 wrote:

Okay, here goes.  I will make one more attempt to respond rationally and reasonably.

 

1.  I was accused (by somebody, it makes little difference who) of having only academic knowledge of Business and Economics, and of lacking experience in the "real" world of Business.  I defended my background, presenting some of my credentials, and I did so without attacking yours, about which I know nothing.

 

2.  Having a dog in the race is an idiom used to relate that I have no reason to be biased.  flyingtoastr has admitted that he has a dog in the race (he is biased) because he works for B&N.  I have absolutely no idea how you might interpret my assertion that I do not have a dog in this race to be an insult directed at you.  We are communicating in the same language (English), are we not?  How is it that you are insulted because I profess to be unbiased when it comes to Amazon? 

 

3.  We are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.  The facts of the antitrust case can be found in the original complaint filed by the US Department of Justice in the District Court.  It says what it says.  Whether it will be upheld upon adjudication is a matter yet to be determined, but the allegations made by DOJ can be found in the complaint.  I believe that flyingtoastr advised us to read the documents before posting.  I have followed his sage advice, having downloaded, printed, read and highlighted areas of the document.  It is very enlightening, although a lot more work to read than simply posting unsupported assertions on this thread.  It is plain enough that one need not be an attorney in order to understand most of it. 

 

4.  Like you, I do not shop for books at Amazon, and have not done so for more than twelve years.  Like you, I am unwilling to share my reasons for this.  I shop for books and magazines only at Barnes and Noble.  Nowhere else.  Why are you angry?

 

5.  Like you, I do not shop at Wal-Mart.  I imagine that I do not set foot in a Wal-Mart store more often than once every two or three years to make one specific purchase that saves me enough money to make the inconvenience worthwhile.  Why are you angry?

 

6.  e-Book prices were lower before April of 2010 when the illegal price-fixing scheme went into effect.  Why would you believe that prices for a product that, arguably, has a lower cost to produce will remain at artificially higher levels?  It defies logic.  You could, of course, be right.  The operating rules and assumptions under which Capitalist economies normally operate could suddenly become null and void.  Do you believe they will?  Would that be tantamount to believing that the sky is falling? 

 

7.  You seem to be saying that the DOJ would have filed some sort of spurious lawsuit against Apple Computer and the Defendant Publishers even if they had not colluded to fix prices.  Why would you believe such a thing?  Do you suppose our US Attorneys just go around filing antitrust lawsuits at random with no substance to their complaints, no evidence to present at trial, and no hope of winning?  Do you imagine that any Federal Judge in the United States would countenance such empty, frivolous suits without severe sanctions against the DOJ and the offending attorneys?  It would be madness!  Thank goodness our justice system doesn't really work that way.  

 

8.  We all hope that the end of the case will not signal the end of B&N, or any other bookstore.  Who said otherwise?  Why would anybody believe that the intent of the suit is anything other than the protection of citizens/consumers, which is the primary duty of the Justice Department. 

 

9.  I take great care with the wording of my posts.  Occasionally I respond with anger that is expressed in the form of sarcasm, but this is almost always in response to a perceived slight.  The language being used on this forum is English.  It is a very precise language.  It is used by Engineers, Physicians, Astronauts, Scientists, Lawyers, Judges, Lawmakers, Pharmacists, Military Members, Airline Pilots, and so forth, and so forth.  Our written language is used for setting down our laws, conveying physicians' orders to nurses and other physicians, and to pharmacists.  Without it, we would never have been able to put humans on our Moon, or robotic explorers on Mars.  We would not be a great civilization if not for our written communication.  We would still be a collection of tribes in the Wilderness if all of our knowledge had to be passed on from generation to generation by an oral tradition.  We should not have to see body language or hear inflections in order to understand the communications of others.  That is one of the reasons why reading and writing is taught at such an early age. 

 

I offer the suggestion that you, and others, take the time to carefully read my posts and not read more into them than what has been set down in writing.  It appears to me that some (but certainly not all) of the participants on this forum see what they expect to see, rather than what was actually written.  It is a common human failing, and we have all succumbed to it at one time or another.  The secret is to remain civil and point out the weaknesses in the other party's logic or argument without becoming emotional.  I know it might be difficult because American TV and movies have conditioned us to react with our emotions (how many times have you heard the TV interviewer ask: "How did it feel ..."?).  

 

I don't know about your PhD, but I know what I have learned over the years about business and Economics, and I know what my observations have convinced me are true.  If I ever see convincing evidence that the laws of Economics, and the rules of Business have changed, I am open to changing my position.  Failing that, I see no reason to suddenly adopt an irrational position simply because it might make me feel better.   

 

The topic of this thread is the DOJ lawsuit.  It is a legal matter that will be adjudicated in a court, and will be subject to appeal.  To be answered are matters of fact, and matters of law.  Emotionalism will probably not be on display in a Federal Courtroom.  The attorneys will argue their cases, and will present evidence to support their positions.  I very much doubt that any of the arguments will take the form: "Your Honor, we really need to prevail in this case in order to prevent Amazon from taking over the world."  :smileywink:



You know, responding to someone as though they are stupid is not really helping. I have read the DoJ filings. All of them. More than once. I understand what they say. I also read your posts. So telling me that if I had read them I would then understand everything and suddenly agree with all you say is insulting. I never said anything about the DoJ filing random antitrust lawsuits. Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else. All I said was that if publishers had kept prices low (say Amazon's $9.99 for new release best sellers) they probably wouldn't have started the investigation in answer to consumer complaints. I think what most people really have a problem with is the high prices of e-books. I pesonally don't think they are outrageously high fo the most part, though there are a few that make me go "Wha??"  I was just trying to point out that a lot of Americans care about more than how cheap they can get something. Of course my perpective on cost may be slightly skewed since I do pay $6-10 for a tiny loaf of bread when I don't have time to make it myself (and frankly the cost of gf flour and baking ingredients don't make my homemade bread much cheaper). I also grew up mostly overseas and on small islands where the cost of things are much higher in general.

 

As to your point 9, body language and voice inflection are extremely important. It's hard to tell with text, for example, if someone is being sarcastic since people rarely type "I am being sarcastic" after their post. There are nuances to communication that really do help when speaking face to face. Oh, and I do understand the english language very well, thank you. Perhaps if so many of us are having trouble with your posts then it is not our deficincies in the english language that are the issue.

 

I would also like to point out that I am not angry. I never get angry at anyone on internet forums. It really just isn't worth it. There are more important things to get emotional about than what someone on the internet says. I really am being very calm and rational. Frankly, debating on forums like this is far more relaxing than what I do with the rest of my day. 

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frantastk
Posts: 743
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


MacMcK1957 wrote:
Actually, toaster, now that you mention it, I'm currently reading Kirk Douglas' book about the making of Spartacus. Fascinating first-person history, and currently a steal at $3.99 for the Nook book. I highly recommend it.

Oh, I saw that book and was wondering if it was any good. I have so many books waiting to be read right now I was trying not to add to the list unless I got a really good recommendation. 

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deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


frantastk wrote:

 

You know, responding to someone as though they are stupid is not really helping. I have read the DoJ filings. All of them. More than once. I understand what they say. I also read your posts. So telling me that if I had read them I would then understand everything and suddenly agree with all you say is insulting. I never said anything about the DoJ filing random antitrust lawsuits. Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else. All I said was that if publishers had kept prices low (say Amazon's $9.99 for new release best sellers) they probably wouldn't have started the investigation in answer to consumer complaints. I think what most people really have a problem with is the high prices of e-books. I pesonally don't think they are outrageously high fo the most part, though there are a few that make me go "Wha??"  I was just trying to point out that a lot of Americans care about more than how cheap they can get something. Of course my perpective on cost may be slightly skewed since I do pay $6-10 for a tiny loaf of bread when I don't have time to make it myself (and frankly the cost of gf flour and baking ingredients don't make my homemade bread much cheaper). I also grew up mostly overseas and on small islands where the cost of things are much higher in general.

 

As to your point 9, body language and voice inflection are extremely important. It's hard to tell with text, for example, if someone is being sarcastic since people rarely type "I am being sarcastic" after their post. There are nuances to communication that really do help when speaking face to face. Oh, and I do understand the english language very well, thank you. Perhaps if so many of us are having trouble with your posts then it is not our deficincies in the english language that are the issue.

 

I would also like to point out that I am not angry. I never get angry at anyone on internet forums. It really just isn't worth it. There are more important things to get emotional about than what someone on the internet says. I really am being very calm and rational. Frankly, debating on forums like this is far more relaxing than what I do with the rest of my day. 


Deesy Wrote:

 

I went back through the entire thread.  You appear to have joined a spirited discussion on the fourth page of the thread.  You asked several questions that I attempted to answer reasonably, logically and unemotionally.  The next post I saw from you was on the eleventh page of posts.  It appeared to be defensive in nature, implying that you believed you had, somehow, been attacked.  I attempted to, again, respond in a reasonable manner, numerically itemizing my points in an effort to avoid any further misunderstandings.  Instead, you seem to have assumed words that I don’t believe I had written, and to have taken further offense.  Here are some examples:

 

 

frantastic wrote:

“You know, responding to someone as though they are stupid is not really helping.”

 

Deesy replies:

I have no idea why you would feel this way.  I am making no implications or drawing any inferences about you whatsoever.  I simply attempted to amplify my positions on the DOJ vs. Apple Computer et al antitrust case while responding to your post.  In the past, I have found your posts to be informative and helpful.

 

 

frantastic wrote:

“So telling me that if I had read them I would then understand everything and suddenly agree with all you say is insulting.”

 

Deesy replies:

I rechecked my words and could find no place where I said that you have not read or understand the words in the DOJ complaint.  I pointed out that I found the language of the complaint to be easy to read and enlightening.  Furthermore, you are free to disagree with me, or with anybody else on this forum, anytime you wish.  By the same token, I have the same rights.  You have not tried to impede these rights, but some others on this thread appear to have tried. 

 

 

frantastic wrote:

“I never said anything about the DoJ filing random antitrust lawsuits.”

 

Deesy replies:

In your post of 8/10/2012, you said: “I also question whether or not the DoJ case would have even been made if publishers had kept prices lower.  I also don't think the effect of the case will be the end of B&N or any other bookstore.”  To me, that implied that you might believe that the Department of Justice might file an antitrust suit without just cause.  My apologies if that was not your meaning.

 

 

frantastic wrote:

“All I said was that if publishers had kept prices low (say Amazon's $9.99 for new release best sellers) they probably wouldn't have started the investigation in answer to consumer complaints.”

 

Deesy replies:

I totally agree with you.  But then, if e-book prices had remained at $9.99 there would have been no conspiracy to fix prices and no antitrust suit in the first place, correct?  Remember that some of the posters on this forum have explicitly supported the “Agency Pricing Model” out of a fear that Amazon might then replace Apple’s oligopoly with a monopoly that will enable it to completely control the e-book industry, even though the immediate effect would be harmful to consumers.  I call that the “Chicken Little” theory because there is no evidence that the government would allow that to happen any more than it did the Apple conspiracy. 

 

 

frantastic wrote:

“I think what most people really have a problem with is the high prices of e-books. I pesonally don't think they are outrageously high fo the most part, though there are a few that make me go "Wha??"  I was just trying to point out that a lot of Americans care about more than how cheap they can get something.”

 

Deesy replies:

We appear to be in total agreement on this point.  We know that Americans, like any other people, wish to pay as little as possible for their purchases.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.  It is common sense.  Anybody who tries to tell us that we should be willing to pay more for our goods and services so that some particular industry can be prevented from becoming extinct should be suspect.  The loss of a once-thriving buggy whip industry has not seemed to have resulted in irreparable harm to Americans, or to anybody else.  Do we agree? 

 

 

frantastic wrote:

As to your point 9, body language and voice inflection are extremely important. It's hard to tell with text, for example, if someone is being sarcastic since people rarely type "I am being sarcastic" after their post. There are nuances to communication that really do help when speaking face to face. Oh, and I do understand the english language very well, thank you. Perhaps if so many of us are having trouble with your posts then it is not our deficincies in the english language that are the issue.

 

Deesy replies:

In my Point #9, I was merely pointing out that English happens to be a very precise language.  As a speaker of a second, non-English, language that is not quite as precise, I am keenly aware that almost all of the formal communication on which the United States of America is founded has been written in English.  Our Declaration of Independence was not written in French.  Our Constitution was not written in German.  Our nation’s laws have not been written in Italian.  We need to be careful to read only what was written, and not what we believe the writer might have been thinking.  Even when judges issue opinions and decisions from the bench, they must be in writing.  All Real Estate transactions must be in writing to be enforceable.  That’s the advantage of written communication over oral communication.  Body language and inflection cannot be misinterpreted because they are not included in the communication.  A recent controversy involving the meaning of the English language in our Constitution can be found in numerous debates over the meaning of the Second Amendment.  As precise as it is, English can still be subject to differing interpretations. 

 

 

frantastic wrote:

“I would also like to point out that I am not angry. I never get angry at anyone on internet forums. It really just isn't worth it. There are more important things to get emotional about than what someone on the internet says. I really am being very calm and rational. Frankly, debating on forums like this is far more relaxing than what I do with the rest of my day.”

 

Deesy replies:

I am glad that you are not angry.  My apologies for believing you were.  Unfortunately, some of the participants on this forum (including me, occasionally) have become very angry from time to time.  Their anger sometimes manifests itself as an attempt to limit or curtail the free speech rights of others.  Read back through this thread and you will see what I mean.

 

We need to be careful, also, not to let the emotional rants of others influence our interpretations of the posts of those with whom we might disagree.  I have suspected for a long time that a flurry of Private Messages (PMs) begins to fly every time the topic of a thread becomes controversial.  I hope that isn’t happening on this thread. 

 

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


frantastk wrote:

Oh, I saw that book and was wondering if it was any good. I have so many books waiting to be read right now I was trying not to add to the list unless I got a really good recommendation. 


Kirk Douglas was a guest on the Bill Maher show several weeks ago promoting the book.  He has a great deal of difficulty communicating since his stroke.  I give him enormous credit for writing the book, and going out on the TV talk show circuit to promote it.  Perhaps if anybody is interested, a clip of his appearance might be available on the Internet.  I haven't looked. 

Distinguished Scribe
Omnigeek
Posts: 903
Registered: ‎01-25-2011

Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


deesy58 wrote:

bklvr896 wrote:
Keriflur, I agree, I want good, well written stories. I dont care about bundling or a used ebook market, i just want good stories. I also don't want delayed releases of the ebook version of a best seller, which is a likely outcome of this.

bklvr896, I think we all want good, well-written stories.  The question is, do we want to pay excessively high prices for them?  That's what this case is all about.  If the "standard" e-book price had remained at $9.99, there would be no antitrust litigation.  No settlements.  Probably little or no angst on these fora. 


You assume

1) $9.99 was the natural right price for these books and

2) the publishers are guilty of collusion because the DOJ suit claims they are

 

I'm not sure there SHOULD be a "standard" e-book price (isn't THAT price-fixing by definition?) but I don't support a $9.99 price level if that was set as a long-term loss-leader in order to monopolize the market.  I prefer to let market dynamics settle the pricing point for different books.  I like Baen precisely because their "standard" ebook prices are lower than the so-called $9.99 standard that Amazon tried to fix but more importantly because they publish authors and subject material that I enjoy.

 

WRT your continued charges of collusion, we'll soon see what evidence DOJ has to this effect but what they've published is NOT evidence of collusion.  I'm no fan of Steve Jobs or the iPad but Jobs offered the publishers a way out of a situation they were already concerned about with Amazon's below-cost ebook pricing for best-sellers.  He didn't demand they all participate, he simply told them how he wanted to do business, showed them how it would benefit them then waited for them to come onboard -- and not all did sign on immediately.  I certainly hope the DOJ has more evidence to support their case but you'll forgive me for not holding my breath given Holder's previous track record.

Currently reading: Destiny of the Republic, Angel Fire East, Batman Year One, Appleseed
Distinguished Bibliophile
keriflur
Posts: 6,864
Registered: ‎01-05-2010
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case

Ugh, I keep fogetting this might lead to windowing (releasing the ebook after the HC to encourage HC sales, the way PBs are released).  I will not be a happy camper if we end up with windowing.

Inspired Bibliophile
deesy58
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎01-22-2012
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Re: American Booksellers Association, Barnes & Noble to weigh in on Apple ebooks case


Omnigeek wrote:

You assume

1) $9.99 was the natural right price for these books and

2) the publishers are guilty of collusion because the DOJ suit claims they are

 

I'm not sure there SHOULD be a "standard" e-book price (isn't THAT price-fixing by definition?) but I don't support a $9.99 price level if that was set as a long-term loss-leader in order to monopolize the market.  I prefer to let market dynamics settle the pricing point for different books.  I like Baen precisely because their "standard" ebook prices are lower than the so-called $9.99 standard that Amazon tried to fix but more importantly because they publish authors and subject material that I enjoy.

 

WRT your continued charges of collusion, we'll soon see what evidence DOJ has to this effect but what they've published is NOT evidence of collusion.  I'm no fan of Steve Jobs or the iPad but Jobs offered the publishers a way out of a situation they were already concerned about with Amazon's below-cost ebook pricing for best-sellers.  He didn't demand they all participate, he simply told them how he wanted to do business, showed them how it would benefit them then waited for them to come onboard -- and not all did sign on immediately.  I certainly hope the DOJ has more evidence to support their case but you'll forgive me for not holding my breath given Holder's previous track record.


There is no such thing as a "natural right price."  I have already posted my assertion that all prices are artificial.  We need to be careful not to confuse price and cost. 

 

Retailers should be free to sell their products at whatever prices they choose.  It is a form of price fixing when a supplier artificially sets prices in order to limit competition in a free market.  It is illegal, and it harms consumers.  When Jobs and the publishers colluded to establish the "Agency Model" of pricing, that's exactly what they did.  The US Department of Justice, rightfully, initiated action to halt this illegal and harmful activity. 

 

It is NOT "price-fixing by definition" for a single retailer to establish a "standard" price for its products.  It is, however, illegal (in most instances) for a group of manufacturers (like publishers) to establish prices that all retailers must abide by.  

 

My own personal opinion is that e-book prices would be great if they stabilized at a level of $1.99.  It might even happen some day.  I won't hold my breath, however. 

 

Do you really believe that the DOJ would have been so specific in its complaint if it didn't have the evidence to back it up?   Why would three of the Publisher Defendants offer to settle as soon as they saw the complaint or the discovery information if they believed that the Justice Department had no case?

 

Riiiight!  Jobs was just a great humanitarian, with the best interests of the publishing industry closest to his heart.  That's why he insisted on a 30% commission for Apple Computer in the "Agency" prices.  I still have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale to anybody who really believes that.  The illegal Agency Model has his handprints all over it.  According to the Justice Department suit: "Apple flatly refused to sell the holdout publisher's e-books unless and until it agreed to an agency relationship substantially similar to the arrangement between Apple and the Publisher Defendants defined by the Apple Agency Agreements."  If that isn't coercion, what is?

 

Jobs, DID, in fact, insist that all of the Big Six publishers participate.  He was successful with all but one, and he settled for what he got. 

 

The Department of Justice has done much, much more than to simply "publish" a set of accusations.  They have filed an antitrust civil lawsuit in the District Court of New York.  That is a federal court.  They have the burden of convincing a federal judge that the suit should not be dismissed.  It has been almost four months, and it hasn't been dismissed.  It is probably reasonable, at this point, to conclude that the suit has merit, and that the DOJ is probably able to prove its case.  We will not know unless, and until, it comes to trial.  In the meantime, at least three defendants have offered to settle out of court. 

 

Read Paragraph 91 of the complaint to see how it was Apple, and nobody else, that established the retail prices for e-books.

 

You say: "I certainly hope the DOJ has more evidence to support their case but you'll forgive me for not holding my breath given Holder's previous track record."  This injection of your political beliefs into the debate seriously erodes the validity of your argument.  It makes absolutely no difference whether you like or dislike the Attorney General of the United States.  It would be incomprehensible that any administration, liberal or conservative, could allow such a blatant violation of US Law to go unchallenged.  

It appears to me that the DOJ has a prima facie case against Apple Computer and the five Publisher Defendants.  It is troubling that it is considering any sort of out-of-court settlement at all.