04-19-2012 03:17 PM
None of my links have anything to do with the price of eBooks.
I never claimed they did.
What I did claim was that government intervention in a free market had unintended consequences, you asked for examples, and I gave you three links from a quick Google search.
One link argues that government actions to make college more affordable have actually driven up the cost of education.
Another link that argues attempts to make home ownership more achievable has actually inflated the cost of housing (and currently led to the current burst of the housing bubble?).
Whether you agree with the conclusions is another mater.
Ahh. Okay. That is a little more clear. You are asserting that the "Law of Unintended Consequenses" holds when the government intervenes in a free market. Do you also assert, however, that the consequences are always negative? If they are, negative for whom? For consumers? Like the antitrust laws? It doesn't seem that this is actually the case.
No the consequences are not always negative, and there is no saying for whom they will be negative.
However a number of other people in this thread have pointed out that B&N and other eBook retailers might not be able to compete with the deep discounting of Amazon and this decision could end up reducing competition in the eBook business.
I don't think this decision is the unmitigated victory that some other seem to believe.
So then, you are a subscriber to the old philosophy that "no good deed goes unpunished" ...
A number of other people in this, and other, threads have apparently taken extreme and irrational positions regarding the likely consequences of the DOJ antitrust suit against Apple. I have called those views exactly what they are: "CW" (Bullsh*t), and I have further described the attitude that prompts people to make such frenzied pronouncements as "The Chicken Little Syndrome" (THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING). Even if a million posters claimed that the DOJ action would allow Amazon to drive B&N and other sellers of e-books out of business, that would not make it so.
Unfortunately, some of the other posters on the B&N Book Clubs believe that single-sentence proclamations of their beliefs are, somehow, equivalent to the well-reasoned arguments of the great philosophers, and some other participants on the threads seem to agree with them.
It is gratifying to see that you, like most adults, make an attempt to use reason and well-researched information to convey your position on matters. Thanks for that!
04-20-2012 12:22 AM
04-20-2012 12:50 AM
It's cute of you to say that deesy58 but quite a number of us have actually cited examples of how ill-considered government action has hurt consumers, how Amazon artificially depressed prices, etc. On the other hand, I have yet to see a citation supporting the DoJ action or even support for how vending models (agency or warehouse) fall under federal jurisdiction. The one thing the DoJ has going for them in their lawsuit is the question of collusion and the evidence we know of is circumstantial at best. Holder has repeatedly refused to prosecute cases with very good evidence and very clear case law (e.g., New Black Panther Party intimidation of voters in Philadelphia in 2008) and taken action in cases where the law and evidence are not clear -- presumably for ideological or political reasons. I think he clearly lied under oath to Congress when discussing Operation Fast and Furious (but I'm not sure lying to a bunch of liars should be worthy of much beyond a couple slaps with a wet noodle) so I really don't know why the DoJ went ahead and filed their lawsuit. Perhaps they have more evidence of collusion than has been publicized thus far. Perhaps they felt the mere threat of a suit could persuade many of the companies to settle, thereby chalking up an easy "win". As far as why three companies have chosen to settle, I can see a clear business case to do so when settling cost them nothing, avoided expensive and protracted litigation and let them dump the MFN clauses that they might not have wanted anyway ... or they might have felt they were guilty and wanted to end the matter. They COULD be guilty but the mere fact they settled ... and did so in a way that cost them nothing ... really doesn't support a presumption of guilt. In fact, the regular dinners they held long before Steve Jobs approached them and before they changed business models shows they were concerned about the effect Amazon was having on the marketplace for quite a long while. Did they conspire to fix marketplace prices even though they all publish different authors and materials? Or did some of them jump to a different horse when they saw a chance to implement a different business model that preserved competition in the marketplace? If they were conspiring, why didn't they all just stop publishing .AZW format or raise the price of having to maintain a different format? Amazon knowingly was taken substantial losses on best seller items yet the publishers are the "bad guys" here. I'm sure you're not suggesting they did this altruistically - it's not clear they derived sufficient derivative sales to offset their losses on the bestsellers muchless to make an end-state profit (which is usually the reason for loss-leaders -- it's the normal reason for Black Friday sales and other discounts). It's interesting that so many of the people here who detest the Agency model for ebooks don't seem to have a problem with it for physical artwork. Go to an art gallery and tell them you think they should be selling Thomas Kinkade for no more than $100 because you can get other prints for that amount and see how far that gets you.
Suppose that everything you have said, here, is absolutely true (and I do agree with some of it), what, exactly, is the point you are trying to make?
I think the analogy of an art gallery to a book publisher breaks down. A work or art is, usually, one-of-a-kind or a strictly limited number. Most books are not originals, but copies. If an original manuscript were to be offered for sale, it would probably be at a place like Christie's, where the auction house would be acting as an agent that receives a commission on the price of the sale.
Regardless of the fact that many merchants offer goods for sale at a loss, that doesn't change the definition of "predatory pricing." I do not know if the DOJ will prevail in its case against Apple. However, the DOJ must have sufficient evidence to survive a Motion for Summary Judgment, so it seems unlikely that Holder would bring a suit he did not believe he could win. As you have pointed out, he "has repeatedly refused to prosecute cases with very good evidence and very clear case law ..." perhaps he is more conservative than you imagine. Do we really believe that he might want to find egg all over his face if the Apple case gets thrown out of court?
It is not an excuse to break the law just because it is suspected that some other party is breaking the law.
I hope I have not missed your point completely. Your post was difficult to follow.
BTW, even though you believe my comments were "cute," I don't believe they were directed at you (unless you are posting under two different pen names, or unless you thought my compliment to sub_rosa was meant for you).