Are Apple Inc. (AAPL) and the big trade publishers colluding to manipulate the market in electronic books?
No, says Scott Turow, president of the Authors Guild. We host him at Live Talks Business on June 22nd for breakfast to discuss this and other challenges in the world of book publishing. He’ll be in conversation with Carolyn Kellogg of the Los Angeles Times’ Jacket Copy blog about all things books.
Scott Turow observes this from two perches: As the writer of bestsellers, including Presumed Innocent, Innocent, One L, and Ultimate Punishment. And, as the current president of The Authors Guild, the leading advocate for writers’ interests.
Here’s an excerpt from an Op-Ed piece in Bloomberg this week on the issue by Turow…
The Justice Department has been investigating whether the publishers colluded in adopting, for the sale of e-books, the same “agency model” pioneered by Apple in selling iTunes. Under that setup, Apple acts as the publishers’ sales agent, taking a cut (usually 30 percent) and leaving it to publishers to set the prices of the e-books they publish.
I have no way of knowing whether the publishers colluded. My friends in publishing insist that price was never part of the discussions, but the Justice Department prosecutors seem to think they have a compelling case. All I can say as an author — and as president of the Authors Guild, the nation’s largest membership organization of professional book writers — is that if the government wants to intervene in the literary marketplace, I hope it will consider the complex ecology of bookselling in the U.S.