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kamas716
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


deesy58 wrote:

 If any single publisher offers such a contract to any individual retailer, such a contract might be legal.  If all of the publishers offer the same terms to all retailers, then that sounds an awful lot like the same sort of collusion that got them into hot water in the first place.

 


Just because they all come up with the same terms of contract doesn't mean it's collusion any more than it's collusion because all the gas stations are selling gas at the same price (even though there are plenty of people who believe it does).
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Ya_Ya
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

[ Edited ]

deesy58 

 

If you believe that Amazon might somehow be bound by the court ruling in the DOJ v. Apple Computer case, I don't think that Amazon was a party to the suit, or to any agreement or settlement.


Wow, go to the ER with a two day migraine and look what happens!  :smileysurprised:

 

It was the "willy nilly" part that was important.

 

While it doesn't appear to be part of the final settlement, a significant provision of the initial proposal stated that no retailer could take an annual loss on ebooks, but could set individual prices however they saw fit as long as they didn't lose money overall.

 

I feel safe making the assumption that most/all of the publishers insisted on such a provision in their new retail contracts, the contracts that replaced their Agency contracts.  Sure, I might be making an @$$ of myself as the adage goes, but I *personally* doubt any of the publishers would have been likely to sign a contract not containing the provision.  Especially given that Amazon, the retailer with the most clout, has already admitted that it needs the publishers more than the publishers need it.

 

Additionally, the sheer fact that the publishers put it into their initial proposed settlements is tantamount to an allegation of predatory pricing, and one might believe that the DoJ would be paying attention to the industry and its pricing.

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deesy58
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


Ya_Ya wrote:

deesy58 

 

If you believe that Amazon might somehow be bound by the court ruling in the DOJ v. Apple Computer case, I don't think that Amazon was a party to the suit, or to any agreement or settlement.


Wow, go to the ER with a two day migraine and look what happens!  :smileysurprised:

 

It was the "willy nilly" part that was important.

 

While it doesn't appear to be part of the final settlement, a significant provision of the initial proposal stated that no retailer could take an annual loss on ebooks, but could set individual prices however they saw fit as long as they didn't lose money overall.

 

I feel safe making the assumption that most/all of the publishers insisted on such a provision in their new retail contracts, the contracts that replaced their Agency contracts.  Sure, I might be making an @$$ of myself as the adage goes, but I *personally* doubt any of the publishers would have been likely to sign a contract not containing the provision.  Especially given that Amazon, the retailer with the most clout, has already admitted that it needs the publishers more than the publishers need it.

 

Additionally, the sheer fact that the publishers put it into their initial proposed settlements is tantamount to an allegation of predatory pricing, and one might believe that the DoJ would be paying attention to the industry and its pricing.


Well, from what I know about the law, there is no legal significance whatsoever to what the DOJ and some publishers might have agreed to when it comes to the business practices of a group of retailers that are operating as independent businesses. 

 

If Amazon, or even B&N for that matter, decides to price its books at any level at all, unless "predatory pricing" can be proven, no impediment to those retail businesses setting prices wherever they wish currently exists, or even can exist. 

 

"Tantamount" does not exist under US law.  A suit must be filed, and evidence must be presented.  This has not happened regarding any allegation of "predatory pricing" in the e-book business that I am aware of. 

 

No publisher can make a contract that would be legally binding on a retailer simply by entering into an agreement with a governmental agency (DOJ).  There is nothing in the law that would allow such a thing.  I have a copy of the DOJ suit.  No retailer (including Amazon) was a party to that suit.  Parties to lawsuits are not allowed to enter into agreements that would be legally binding on others.

 

An analogous example might be a gas station engaging in price gouging in Florida after a hurricane.  The government steps in and takes action against the gas station.  The station's owners agree to stop gouging, but only if gas stations in other parts of the country (Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, Dallas) also reduce their gasoline prices, or that they agree never to engage in price competition.  It would be blatantly ludicrous on its face. 

 

The publishers can't penalize Amazon because of their own misconduct.  If they try, expect more lawsuits. 

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Ya_Ya
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

deesy,

 

AGAIN, you are being intentionally thick.

 

I said that I suspected that since the Agency  contracts were declared null & void, the publishers would demand that provision when renegotiating their retailer contracts.  Are you suggesting that the publishers could not demand that any retailer not sell their catalog for an overall loss?  Couldn't the publisher just choose not to sell to a retailer if the retailer didn't agree to such a provision?  That's what I suggest has happened; the publishers required that provision before they signed new contracts allowing the retailers to sell their catalog.

 

I could be wrong, which I admit, but that is what I believe to be likely.

 

As for the tantamount, I didn't say it was a suit filed.  I said that the inclusion of that proposal had to put the possibility of predatory pricing in the industry on the DoJ's radar.  If you don't think that government agencies conduct investigations that they aren't "supposed" to, perhaps you might watch the evening news - any evening, any news.

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keriflur
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

[ Edited ]
The contracts between the pubs and retailers other than Amazon weren't declared null and void - only the REP (required ebook pricing) sections of the contracts were declared null and void. As far as the public knows, the pubs are still using their agency contracts with this provision removed. As per the DoJ settlement (not the DoJ ruling with Apple), the retailers are not allowed to sell in a way that puts the overall portfolio of books under cost.
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keriflur
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

The confusion here seems to be coming from the fact that the DoJ has settlements with the publishers that are separate from the Apple trial, and the states have separate settlements also.
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deesy58
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


Ya_Ya wrote:

deesy,

 

AGAIN, you are being intentionally thick.

 

I said that I suspected that since the Agency  contracts were declared null & void, the publishers would demand that provision when renegotiating their retailer contracts.  Are you suggesting that the publishers could not demand that any retailer not sell their catalog for an overall loss?  Couldn't the publisher just choose not to sell to a retailer if the retailer didn't agree to such a provision?  That's what I suggest has happened; the publishers required that provision before they signed new contracts allowing the retailers to sell their catalog.

 

I could be wrong, which I admit, but that is what I believe to be likely.

 

As for the tantamount, I didn't say it was a suit filed.  I said that the inclusion of that proposal had to put the possibility of predatory pricing in the industry on the DoJ's radar.  If you don't think that government agencies conduct investigations that they aren't "supposed" to, perhaps you might watch the evening news - any evening, any news.


Well, I won't assert that you are being deliberately thick, but you are clearly not familiar with some elementary principles of American law: specifically Restraint of Trade.  In a precedent-setting case, Lord Smith LC said:

 

"it is the privilege of a trader in a free country, in all matters not contrary to law, to regulate his own mode of carrying it on according to his own discretion and choice. If the law has regulated or restrained his mode of doing this, the law must be obeyed. But no power short of the general law ought to restrain his free discretion."

 

Wikipedia (the source of the quotation) goes on to say: "A contractual undertaking not to trade is void and unenforceable against the promisor as contrary to the public policy of promoting trade, unless the restraint of trade is reasonable to protect the interest of the purchaser of a business." 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restraint_of_trade

 

American law is, to a great extent, based on English law.

 

We can't simply make assumptions as to what is, and what is not, legal in our country based on assumptions, wishes or the opinions of journalists. 

 

I am, indeed, "suggesting that the publishers could not demand that any retailer not sell their catalog for an overall loss."   Any contract containing such language would probably be unenforceable because it would be a type of restraint of trade. 

 

You know, Ya_Ya, you could perform a little research on the Internet and find some facts to support your assumptions when you don't have a level of business experience and training that would inform you about business law.  As one of the other posters has pointed out a couple of times: "Google is your friend."

 

I probably watch and read a whole lot more news than you do.  Certainly, I have a pretty good idea of what is going on in our country (and the world) at any given time. 

 

I hope that you will find the information to be found in the Wikipedia article to be enlightening and useful. 

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deesy58
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


keriflur wrote:
The contracts between the pubs and retailers other than Amazon weren't declared null and void - only the REP (required ebook pricing) sections of the contracts were declared null and void. As far as the public knows, the pubs are still using their agency contracts with this provision removed. As per the DoJ settlement (not the DoJ ruling with Apple), the retailers are not allowed to sell in a way that puts the overall portfolio of books under cost.

That's an interesting assertion -- especially since I said nothing at all about the Apple ruling, but I did mention the proposed settlements with the publishers.

 

Read the Wikipedia article about restraint of trade.  You might learn something you did not previously know.  I'll bet that the bunch of MBAs who run B&N and the publishing companies know about it. 

 

Since you seem to be so certain of the opinions you are relating, could you, perhaps, share your supporting sources?  You say that "the retailers are not allowed to sell in a way that puts the overall portfolio of books under cost."  Not allowed by whom?  Is it the government that you assert would engage in blatant restraint of trade? 

 

Not likely. 

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deesy58
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


keriflur wrote:
The confusion here seems to be coming from the fact that the DoJ has settlements with the publishers that are separate from the Apple trial, and the states have separate settlements also.

So, who is confused, exactly? 

 

Just wondered. 

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Ya_Ya
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


deesy58 wrote:

 

I am, indeed, "suggesting that the publishers could not demand that any retailer not sell their catalog for an overall loss."   Any contract containing such language would probably be unenforceable because it would be a type of restraint of trade. 

 


Interesting because a couple of posts ago you suggested that an individual publisher could do this very thing.  

 

Wikipedia certainly appears to be your friend, even when the conclusions you draw from its info appear to be, at the least, dubious.

 

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deesy58
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


Ya_Ya wrote:

deesy58 wrote:

 

I am, indeed, "suggesting that the publishers could not demand that any retailer not sell their catalog for an overall loss."   Any contract containing such language would probably be unenforceable because it would be a type of restraint of trade. 

 


Interesting because a couple of posts ago you suggested that an individual publisher could do this very thing.  

 

Wikipedia certainly appears to be your friend, even when the conclusions you draw from its info appear to be, at the least, dubious.

 


An individual publisher could put whatever it wanted into a contract with an individual retailer.  However, any such clauses would probably not be enforceable.  If all of the publishers did it, it would probably be both Price Fixing and Restraint of Trade.  Price Fixing cannot apply to only a single publisher, but Restraint of Trade could.    

 

Conclusions??  Could it have been stated more clearly? 

 

You know, your local community college probably offers classes in Critical Thinking, or even in Business Law.  You might think about enrolling and learning something, instead of posting nonsensical, unsupported opinions that you pull from thin air. 

 

 

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kamas716
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?


deesy58 wrote:


Or, in the DOJ's own words:

"Under the proposed settlement agreement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, they will terminate their agreements with Apple and other e-books retailers and will be prohibited for two years from entering into new agreements that constrain retailers' ability to offer discounts or other promotions to consumers to encourage the sale of the publishers' e-books.  The settlement does not prohibit Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster from entering new agency agreements with e-book retailers, but those agreements cannot prohibit the retailer from reducing the price set by the publishers."

http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2012/282133.htm


Tell me where it says in these reports that Amazon, or any other retailer, for that matter, is not free to set its own prices -- at any level they wish! 

FT cited no sources whatsoever for his assertions, making it appear likely that they were simply pulled from the air (or some other dark place) and you chose to believe them ... 


I wonder, does the hilighted text mean that NO constraints AT ALL or simply that the price of individual books can't be constrained?  I haven't read the actual settlement, just the press release.  Nor am I privy to any of the contracts that the publishers have signed/in talks with the retailers.  If it's true that ebooks are still being sold under a sort of modified Agency Model, could it be possible that the contract states that the retailers can sell any titles they wish at any price they wish as long as the overall figures amount to a profit/breakeven?

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deesy58
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

[ Edited ]

kamas716 wrote:

deesy58 wrote:


Or, in the DOJ's own words:

"Under the proposed settlement agreement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, they will terminate their agreements with Apple and other e-books retailers and will be prohibited for two years from entering into new agreements that constrain retailers' ability to offer discounts or other promotions to consumers to encourage the sale of the publishers' e-books.  The settlement does not prohibit Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster from entering new agency agreements with e-book retailers, but those agreements cannot prohibit the retailer from reducing the price set by the publishers."

http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2012/282133.htm


Tell me where it says in these reports that Amazon, or any other retailer, for that matter, is not free to set its own prices -- at any level they wish! 

FT cited no sources whatsoever for his assertions, making it appear likely that they were simply pulled from the air (or some other dark place) and you chose to believe them ... 


I wonder, does the hilighted text mean that NO constraints AT ALL or simply that the price of individual books can't be constrained?  I haven't read the actual settlement, just the press release.  Nor am I privy to any of the contracts that the publishers have signed/in talks with the retailers.  If it's true that ebooks are still being sold under a sort of modified Agency Model, could it be possible that the contract states that the retailers can sell any titles they wish at any price they wish as long as the overall figures amount to a profit/breakeven?


You raise an interesting point.  Under traditional interpretations of the antitrust laws, I believe that ANY attempt by suppliers to control the sales prices of products would be considered either Price Fixing or

Restraint of Trade. 

 

Note that enforcement of a contract provision would require that retailers supply financial information to suppliers in greater detail than might normally be exchanged.  That would produce a very great risk that competitors would be able to get their hands on sensitive data.  I really can't imagine any responsible retail management caving in to such demands from publishers without a big legal fight. 

 

The text of the actual settlements does not appear to have been released to the public, yet.  The DOJ Web site does not appear to have any more than what I already posted, unless it is buried someplace where I haven't found it.  It also does not appear that the press has found it, either.  Perhaps the settlement agreements have not, yet, been ratified by Judge Cote, which I believe is a necessary condition.

 

After many years of negotiating selling and purchasing agreements in business, I can tell you that details are rarely made public to anybody because of the risks of competitive disadvantages.  Such a level of detail is never seen, even in the financial reports of publicly-held corporations.  We'll probably never be privy to that sort of information.

 

The answer to your last question is that it would not seem likely.  That sort of contract would seem to be a clear restraint of trade, IMO. 

 

No supplier has the right to interfere with the business operations of any of its customers, except for certain exceptions designed to protect consumers.  It is difficult to imagine how consumers would be protected if they were forced to pay artificially high prices dictated by a publisher. 

 

If e-books were still being sold under a "modified agency model," is it probable that Amazon would still be selling them for less than $8?  Food for thought ...

 

It is difficult for me to imagine an agency pricing and selling scheme that would not, somehow, be in violation of US antitrust law.  Lawyers and business managers are sometimes very creative people, however, so we might be surprised. 

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Perry_Mason
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

Even before Apple's illegal price fixing schement was cooked up Nook prices were higher than Amazons.  

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Perry_Mason
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

As an addendum and to illustrate the point, here are two books I just purchased and which are recent releases:

 

White Fire by Preston and Child.  Amazon, Kobo, Sony eBookstore and Google Play Store price: $6.49.

B&N price:  $11.99

 

The Eye of god by James Rollins:  Amazon, Kobo and Sony eBookstore:  $2.99

Google Play Book Store:  $8.49

B&N price:  $16.99

 

I could go on and on but here's how B&N's prices hurt them.  I just compared the price difference of books on my wishlist and the savings averaged over $200 between any of the named ebook stores and Barnes and Noble.  That's enough savings to buy me a new ereader or tablet and switch my business.  In fact, it would be smart to switch and continue enjoying the savings.

 

It's just not that B&N books are more expensive than Amazon, but they are more expensive than any of the other leading ebook stores.  There were a lot of books on my list that I can buy anywhere else for $8 and change, but which sell for twice that on B&N.  One book B&N wanted $19 for that could be gotten for $6 everywhere else.  

 

They're only hurting themselves by keeping prices so high, but I suppose the problem is they are a brick and mortar company with high overhead that sells paper books that compete with their internet divsion selling electronic books.  And they keep their ebook prices high hoping not to cannabalize sales of their B&M stores.  The problem is there is plenty of seriious competition elsewhere that they aren't acknowledging.

 

I like B&N and I like the Nooks; I owned the very first version of the e ink and color models.  But I'm also a consumer that doesn't want to over pay for the identical product I can get elsewhere for not a little bit cheaper, but a whole lot less money.  

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keriflur
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

So, don't buy from B&N. *shrugs*

 

In both examples, you can buy from Kobo and load the file to your nook.  So, do that.

 

Wondering why the complaint is comparing B&N to Amazon when you clearly show Kobo and Sony are just as low.

 

FWIW, every once in a while B&N is actually lower than Amazon, and I've definitely seen plenty of times that Google or Kobo was lower than Amazon. Owning a kindle locks you into the amz/mobi format,so when someone else is lower, you're SOL. But with a nook you can ALMOST ALWAYS get the lowest price, because you can buy from Kobo, Sony, and Google too.

 

And if you've got an HD/+ you can just load whatever apps you want, including kindle, and buy from whoever you want.

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geertm
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Re: Why Nook ebooks are more expensive than Amazon Kindle?

You could have bought White Fire for 50% off at an earlier 50% off of pre-orders sale.

 

B&N usually needs a few (working) days to pricematch Amazon.

Next week the prices of both books will probably be adjusted to pricematch Amazon.