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Posts tagged ‘Publishers Weekly’

All Is Well!!

I woke up this morning to see that the beautiful, wealthy people at the top of the American publishing scene are telling me publishing is doing well! Whew. That’s a load off. And here, I can’t actually remember the last time I purchased a hardcopy genre novel. I suspect it was before Wee Dave was born, for a couple of reasons. First, disposable income. Second, I don’t remember a whole lot of the last four years.

Ok, the truly entertaining part of John Sargent’s (CEO of Macmillan) comments wasn’t thanking President Trump for trying to block the publication of Michael Wolff’s magnificent work of fiction Fire & Fury. (I still think the POTUS’ mobilization of the DOJ – aside from being apparently juvenile – was mostly trolling his political and cultural opponents.) Oh, no. That’s what followed, where he pulled off his gleaming helmet, wiped his noble brow, and assured us he believes “free speech … is the greatest value” in publishing. Such a paladin. I’m so glad powerful businessmen are there to defend our rights. I just wish they’d do it consistently, since that’s what they claim to be for.
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Sunday Link Salad

I haven’t done one of these in a long time. When I first joined MGC a number of years ago, I kept asking Sarah and Dave why they wanted me. I wasn’t a writer (okay, I may have had one book out). No one would want to read what I had to say. Sarah, being the devious woman that she is and knowing me as well as she does, knew there was one way to convince me. She suggested I do for the blog what I had been doing for myself and for her — I keep on top of what was happening in the publishing world and post links to articles or sites I thought our readers might find interesting. Then, slowly but surely, she conned — er, convinced — me to expand my postings. I still do the occasional link salad posts but a number of the sites I used to follow are no longer around. Or they’ve fallen so deep into the Amazon Derangement Syndrome or Indie Derangement Syndrome that I no longer read them. Others, I read only on occasion. However, the following sites are some of those I check on a daily or weekly basis. Keep in mind, you can also find a lot of information from social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You just have to do your homework and confirm what the authenticity of those “quotes” or excerpts.

First up is the best of the sites, imo, because it is compiles information from a number of sources, has an active commenter base and we get the added benefit of comments from the site’s owner. That site is The Passive Voice. If I had to name one site that is mandatory for all writers to follow, it would be this one. Bookmark it. Check it at least once a day. Read the comments.

Next up is a twofer. Kris Rusch and her husband, Dean Wesley Smith, run two sites I also feel need to be on your must read list. Kris Writes offers, among other things, the Business Musings posts that should be mandatory reading for every author. They give insight into the traditional publishing world as well as guidance for indie publishing. Dean’s site is important because it offers the “Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing” posts as well as a list of his workshops. Both are well worth your time.

For keeping up with what’s happening in the traditional publishing world, Publishers Weekly is still the go-to site. Yes, much of is it behind a paywall, but there is still a great deal to discover that isn’t. You do have to keep in mind the bias PW has for traditional publishing. But, to see what the “other side” is up to, this is your place to go.

Going hand-in-hand with PW is Association of American Publishers. Again, this is slanted more toward traditional publishing but there is good information to be found there.

Here are a few other sites you might find of interest:

Literary Hub

Digital Book World

The Digital Reader

Teleread

Then there is the site that sends traditional publishing into apoplexy more often than not by sticking pins into their balloons about the earning potential of indie authors and just how popular e-books are with readers. Author Earnings isn’t a daily or even a weekly read. I recommend you sign up for email notifications of when they have new information available. But, when they post a new report, it is always something authors need to sit down and read. Better yet, they have past reports available for viewing. That lets you track the trends and see if they really are trends, as others might say, or not. Bookmark this page and take the time to go through what it offers.

There are many more sites out there that we, as writers, either follow or should be following. I tried to stick with general industry-related sites today. You can find author sites that give you a window into the life of an author. There are other sites that offer writing advice and exercises. The wonderful thing about the internet is the fact there is no lack of resources available. The problem comes in winnowing through those resources to find the best ones.

What are your favorite industry-related sites?

 

 

Oh noes, the sky is falling

On  one of the mailing lists I belong to, someone commented about how Publishers Weekly was basically declaring the imminent death of science fiction. According to PW, sales of SF were down 21% in 2013 and another 7% in 2014. In other words, SF sales were down approximately 4.14 million units and now is smaller than the graphic novel market. Needless to say, yours truly (as well as everyone else on the list including the person who posted it) met those numbers with skepticism. My concern about the accuracy of the report came not only because it was from PW but also because there was no breakdown as to whether this was talking print only, print and e-book sales and how those numbers were gathered.

So, yours truly went searching for more information this morning and surprise, surprise. It turns out we were right to be skeptical. It seems that those numbers come from Bookscan. You know, our friendly neighborhood sales reporter that doesn’t count every sale from every outlet but uses handwavium to figure out what title has sold how many units. Bookscan that doesn’t track every title, as in most indie titles aren’t included. Bookscan that is iffy at best when it comes to reporting e-book sales. But, if we are to take PW seriously, we are to worry about the decline in demand for science fiction.

Sorry, but no. If PW and those looking at the figures and wringing their hands would know if they simply took a little time to think about it, all these figures show is that people are tired of what is coming out of most traditional publishing houses when it comes to SF. I say most because it is my belief that Baen has not been hit like others, say TOR, because Baen is different. Baen worries about putting out a good story. Baen is run by folks — hi, Toni! — who like to read and know that readers want to be entertained and not preached to. Sure, there are messages in many of Baen’s titles but you aren’t being hit over the head with it. Besides, I don’t know about you but I would rather read books where we see the strength of the human spirit, where freedom and exploration and exploding spaceships are more important than pushing some social agenda.

So, PW only looked at Bookscan numbers and that means they limited their sampling to basically only traditionally published books. Sure, some small press and indie books made it but not the vast majority because Bookscan and e-book sales just don’t play well together.

That figured out, I started thinking about my own earnings from the Honor and Duty books as well as the earnings my friends who also write SF have been making with their e-books. Hmm, our figures and earnings don’t seem to match what PW said. So, curious, I went to Amazon and checked the top 10 best sellers. It didn’t surprise me at all to see that, out of the top 10 in SF best selling e-books, only three were from from traditional publishers and one of those is a reprint. If you continue looking at the rest of the titles in the Top 100, you find that the vast majority of them are either small press or indie published books. That should say something. The lesson there is that science fiction is not dead. Far from it in fact.

That isn’t to say that the numbers PW posted are completely wrong or that those reading them see a decline in SF sales. Where they are wrong is in how they interpret the numbers. Like the Emperor with his new clothes, they are refusing to admit that the masses — in this case, the readers who are willing to put their hard earned money down to buy books — see through their illusions of grandeur and realize that they are marching down the street wearing nothing. Their need to push their agenda, political and social, have stripped away good story telling and now the Emperor is naked and, well, he doesn’t look nearly as good as he thinks he does. So the readers have turned to other sources, sources where story telling is still important.

So, if you are like me and you enjoy a good story and not being beaten about the head and shoulders with the cause du jour, I urge you to buy your membership to WorldCon so you can vote for the Hugos. We have sat back too long and let the “in crowd” decide what is the so-called best in the genre. I can remember when reading a Hugo winner meant you would read a well-written and entertaining book. Now, well, not so much. Message has become more important than story and that, in my mind, is a shame. Consider this my endorsement for every reader here to watch Brad Torgesren’s blog for more on Sad Puppies 3. Brad has valiantly taken up the banner to fight for good, entertaining science fiction and fantasy to read and recognized. As for me, I’m off to buy my membership and then figure out who I am going to vote for.

Now, go read a good SF book or, better yet, write one for me to read!

All those pesky numbers

As I was trying to figure out what to blog about this morning, I took a digital walk over to the pages of Publishers Weekly. I really didn’t expect to find anything. PW, once the bastion of news for the publishing industry long ago proved to be nothing more than the mouthpiece for the traditional publishers. It has done its best, in my opinion, to ignore those authors who either go both the traditional and indie route or who choose to go only indie. For a publication dedicated to the publishing industry, it also did its best to ignore e-books until that was no longer possible. At least it has had a section of digital publishing for awhile. Not that you could tell it from the article that caught my eye.

In “What the Numbers Reveal About the 2014 Bestsellers“, PW breaks down the various bestseller lists by publisher, media tie-in and book. There is a lot of space given over to how this category increased or that one decreased and why. Heck, it even managed to mention 50 Shades and Duck Dynasty in the same sentence (and if that doesn’t bring some mind-blowing images to your imagination, you aren’t awake yet). Anyway. . .

A couple of things are very clear from the article — not that the author of the piece actually makes the connection — best sellers aren’t the books that are the most well-written. They aren’t necessarily the books with the best reviews, either from professional reviewers or from the everyday Joe who buys them. They are the books with the most push behind them. Not that it surprises anyone who follows the industry. However, the fact that the author of the article fails to make the connection, instead dancing around it, has me shaking my head and asking if she didn’t see it or if this is yet another attempt to try to play smoke and mirrors with the reading public.

An example of this is mentioned in the article. The author points out that Gone Girl made three different forms of the best seller lists and even points out that two of the editions were movie tie-ins. Think about it. Move tie-ins. That means not only were the publishers pushing the book but so was the movie industry. Ads for the movie mentioned that it was based on the best selling novel and the book editions mentioned it was soon to be a blockbuster movie. That is promotional money that most authors will never see, money that will push sales up to the best seller lists.

But something else stands out in the article, something that will leave many of us shaking our heads. After having traditional publishers fight Amazon for years over the price of e-books, of hearing them talk about how important e-books and e-book pricing is to the continued financial health of the publishing houses, we see nothing in the article about the sales of e-books. As you peruse the best seller lists contained in the article, you will find hard cover, mass market paperbacks, trade paperback but no e-books. It is as though they don’t exist.

It isn’t as if the publishers don’t have the information. They do. Every outlet has its best seller list. Several major newspapers now have e-book best seller lists. But there is nothing in the article. Bumpkiss. Crickets.

Which brings up the question of why. Why are e-books left out of the equation? I can’t say for sure but I have my suspicions and they center on the success of indie authors in the digital arena. If you check out the various Amazon digital lists, you will see a number of indie published e-books on them. Indies often break into the Top 10 lists, especially the genre fiction lists. More importantly, indies manage to break into these lists not by spending vast amount of money on promotion but through social networking and word of mouth. You know, sort of how it used to be when you asked your friend what they were reading and went off to try the book if they liked it.

Maybe the author of the article doesn’t believe e-books are “real” books. Maybe she excluded them because those best seller lists didn’t support the premise of her article. Maybe she didn’t cover them because PW is still basically focused on the traditional publishing industry. Whatever the reason, the article gives only one part of the overall story and that is a shame.

Now, because I am an indie author and I do believe in promotion — although I basically suck at it — if you are looking for something to read, I’d appreciate it if you’d check out these books:

nocturnal interludenewNocturnal Interlude (Nocturnal Lives 3)

Lt. Mackenzie Santos swears she will never take another vacation again as long as she lives. The moment she returns home, two federal agents are there to take her into custody. Then she finds out her partner, Sgt. Patricia Collins, as well as several others are missing. Several of the missing have connections to law enforcement. All are connected to Mac through one important and very secret fact — they are all shapechangers. Has someone finally discovered that the myths and bad Hollywood movies are actually based on fact or is there something else, something more insidious at work?

Mac finds herself in a race against time not only to save her partner and the others but to discover who was behind their disappearances. As she does, she finds herself dealing with Internal Affairs, dirty cops, the Feds and a possible conspiracy within the shapeshifter community that could not only bring their existence to light but cause a civil war between shifters.

hunter's homeHunter’s Home (Hunter’s Moon Book 3)

written under the pen name Ellie Ferguson

They say you can never go home. That’s something CJ Reamer has long believed. So, when her father suddenly appears on her doorstep, demanding she return home to Montana to “do her duty”, she has other plans. Montana hasn’t been home for a long time, almost as long as Benjamin Franklin Reamer quit being her father. Dallas is now her home and it’s where her heart is. The only problem is her father doesn’t like taking “no” for an answer.

When her lover and mate is shot and she learns those responsible come from her birth pride and clan, CJ has no choice but to return to the home she left so long ago. At least she won’t be going alone. Clan alphas Matt and Finn Kincade aren’t about to take any risks where their friend is concerned. Nor is her mate, Rafe Walkinghorse, going to let her go without him.

Going home means digging up painful memories and family secrets. But will it also mean death – or worse – for CJ and her friends?

coverforvfaVengeance from Ashes (Honor and Duty)

written under the pen name of Sam Schall

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

But only if she can forget the betrayal and do her duty.


Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2)

written under the pen name of Sam Schall

Duty calls. Honor demands action.

Major Ashlyn Shaw has survived false accusations and a brutal military prison. Now free, she finds her homeworld once again at war with an enemy that will stop at nothing to destroy everything she holds dear. Duty has Ashlyn once again answering the call to serve. She has seen what the enemy is capable of and will do everything she can to prevent it from happening to the home she loves and the people she took an oath to protect.

But something has changed. It goes beyond the fact that the enemy has changed tactics they never wavered from during the previous war. It even goes beyond the fact that there is still a nagging doubt in the back of Ashlyn’s mind that those who betrayed her once before might do so again. No, there is more to the resumption of hostilities, something that seems to point at a new player in the game. But who and what are they playing at?

A few links of interest

I’ll try to get back with a “real” post later today, but I have to run out of here shortly for a doctor’s appointment and, duh, I forgot to write my post last night. In the meantime, with a hat tip to Cedar Sanderson and J. Michael Antoniewicz II for two of the following links.

E-book sales data, the truth is out there. This is an interesting take on e-book sales and where they really fit into the complete sales picture. The problem, in my opinion, is that the information is still incomplete. The data was gained through publisher submission and doesn’t take into account a number of small and micro-publishers, nor does it take into account self-published authors. In fact, it comes from only those publishers and small presses named in the “Top 50”. So, while it might give a more accurate picture of the place of e-books in the publishing world, it is still an incomplete picture.

How bookshops could be happy ever after: ebooks could provide new revenue stream. Another interesting article. I’m all for getting e-books into our local bookstores. Kris Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith have discussed a number of different ways to do so, including letting authors sell redeemable cards, like gift cards, with codes for e-books on them. The problem is getting both the booksellers and the authors to break out of the normal marketing rut and start thinking outside of the box.

Finally, from Publishers Weekly, comes this article about the top 50 publishers world-wide. Take a look at the sales figures. Now ask why these publishers are still dragging their feet when it comes to adapting to the changing market. Ask yourself why they continue to base their sales figures on the arcane hand-wavium that is BookScan. These figures are no more accurate than the BookScan numbers are. But the trend is there. Revenues are down pretty much across the board. I have my opinions as to why. BookScan numbers being part of it. Another part is the reliance on trend-authors/books. The latest trend was Fifty Shades of Grey. The response has been for publishers to try to bring out books just like the Shades trilogy. One publisher even halted distribution of some of its titles while they redid the covers to look more like the Shades books. The problem is that not everyone wants to read books like that. Another problem is that publishers are cutting loose their workhorses, the mid-list authors, to go after authors who write the trendy books. The issue with that is the trend will have changed by the time these books are published. The mid-listers were guaranteed sales. They were money in the bank. But they were splashy or flashy. So, they were tossed aside and those sales were lost.

So, what are your thoughts? How do we, as authors, get our e-books into our local bookstores? What is the importance of the figures from the publishers? Will it ever stop sleeting at my house?

To pay or not to pay — for reviews that is

Last week’s post about the Fifty Shades of Grey books and the success they’ve had sort of rolls right into at least part of today’s post. As I pointed out last week, I’m firmly convinced one of the main reasons those books have had the success they have is because of the push they received. Part of that push came from reviews. And that is the main focus of today’s post.

First of all, I want to give a hat-tip to Taylor Lunsford for pointing me to this article. She’d seen references to it on twitter and wanted to know if I’d seen it.

Book reviews have been around for as long as there have been books. I can remember when they made up a large part of the Arts section of the Sunday paper. The New York Times Book Review used to be the size of a daily newspaper. Libraries and schools, as well as bookstores, rely on Kirkus and Publishers Weekly for reviews to determine what books to buy. Reviews from bloggers and readers have become the life’s blood for indie authors and small presses. So it really is no surprise that someone came up with a system to get these same indie authors to pay for reviews to get them better placement on Amazon and other online stores.

What gets me is how everyone seems so up in arms about this, acting as if this hasn’t been the norm for publishing for years. Paid reviews have been around just about as long as reviews have been. Sure there are free reviews and reviewers out there. But to get into Kirkus, etc., do you really think they just pluck books out of the air to review? Not if you’re an indie. Here is a link to the pertinent page from the Kirkus site. It costs $425 for a review (more if you want to fast track it) of 250 – 350 words. Oh, note that once the review is ready, you’ll be notified and can preview it. At that time, you can decide whether to “keep it private” or put it up on the Kirkus website. If you choose to put it up, “we will also distribute it to our licensees, including Google, BN.com, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and more. On top of that, our editors will consider it for publication in Kirkus Reviews magazine, which is read by librarians, booksellers, publishers, agents, journalists and entertainment executives. Your review may also be selected to be featured in our email newsletter, which is distributed to more than 50,000 industry professionals and consumers.”

Publishers Weekly, which you’d think would recognize the growing importance of the indie movement in e-books, allows for quarterly reviews of indie books in a special publication call PW Select. To be considered for inclusion in this quarterly publication, you first have to register. For the standard PW Select, your upfront money is $149. If you want the PW Select Plus (which includes Vook), it is $199. the difference? The second option is designed to get you to publish through PW’s Vook platform. So they are getting you coming and going. Not only are they having you pay for the possibility of having your book reviewed in their QUARTERLY supplement the focuses only on indie books, but they are also trying to get you to pay to publish through their VOOK line. And, unlike Kirkus that will do the review and let you choose if you want it to go public or not, your money does NOT guarantee a review with PW.

And yet folks were up in arms to find out that someone was making it easier for indies to game the system that legacy publishers have been gaming for years. Do I agree with everything Todd Rutherford was doing? No. But then I don’t particularly agree with paid reviews. But for folks to act like this hasn’t been going on for, well, ever, blows me away.

The reality of the situation is that books, whether they are published through the traditional route or indie published, need reviews. Reviews are the word of mouth means of promoting our books. The percentage of readers who post reviews is abysmal. So it is no surprise there are enterprising folks out there selling their services as reviewers. It is nothing new. I repeat: it is nothing new. But this outrage just shows the double standard that still exists between indie/small press and traditional publishing. Maybe I’d take the outrage more seriously if it included condemning the old standards for charging for their reviews as well.

Of course, many of those condemning Rutherford and those like him also point to the Bowker report about the price of e-books not rising under the agency pricing model as evidence the Department of Justice is wrong in claiming prices will rise under the agency model. As noted before, the Bowker report doesn’t take into account the fact that there was a larger proportion of indie/small press e-books published during the reporting period than there were e-books published by those named in the DoJ’s price fixing suit. Nor does it note that these e0-books are traditionally priced lower than legacy published e-books. Guess what, guys, if you have more books published by authors and publishers not following the agency model and their prices are lower than agency model e-books — often substantially lower — e-books prices will appear to be lower overall. It’s math, so simple even I can do it.

Finally, I can’t close out today without a warning for authors. If you have a beef with your editor or publisher and don’t want it to get back to them, don’t talk about it on your blog. I woke up this morning to the sight of a so-called fan of several authors I happen to like and admire reporting back to their editor/publisher on that publisher’s site what the authors had said in their blogs. Even though this so-called fan didn’t name the authors, enough information was given, including a direct quote from one, that a simple google search would turn up the names without any trouble. In this case, the authors were complaining, rightly so, about slow payments and other issues that are rife throughout the industry right now. But what this so-called fan didn’t think about was the trouble they could be causing these authors. Sure, the authors ought to be thinking long and hard about what they put online because this is what happens.

As for the so-called fan who reported all this back to the publisher, they might not have thought about what sort of trouble they could be causing for the authors. Or maybe they were just upset with comments from other posters on the site who weren’t appreciative of their earlier comments and this was an attempt to prove up what they’d been saying. Either way, harm may have been done to the authors and, honestly, to the editor/publisher because this so-called fan doesn’t know the whole story.

Okay, guess I’m crankier than I thought. Time to stagger off to find more coffee.

And now we wait

The Department of Justice has published the 868 comments in response to the proposed settlement with three of the five publishers named in the price fixing suit it filed earlier against the original Big Five publishers and Apple. I’m not surprised to find that the vast majority of responses were opposing the proposed settlement. After all, the average reader isn’t even aware of the lawsuit. Beyond that, most authors who will be impacted by the outcome of this and who are still under contract with the named publishers aren’t going to say anything for fear of having their contracts dropped by the publishers. To publicly come out and say your employer — and, yes, that’s exactly what publishers are to writers under the current set up — is full of crap is to commit what some (publishers and agents) might see as professional suicide.

What does surprise me, and pleasantly so, is that the DoJ is sticking to its guns. Without going into politics too much, this is an election year and, well, you get what I’m saying. I won’t say more because this isn’t a political blog and I’m not going to make it one.

Without rehashing — too much — what I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the agency model. However, I also admit that there is nothing inherently wrong with it. My issues come with how the agency model was put in place by the original Big 5 and Apple. Long before the DoJ filed its lawsuit, rumors had abounded about how Steve Jobs had required the publishers adopt the agency model if they wanted to be included in the new iBookstore. (Remember, all this came about at the same time the iPad hit the market). It was just all too coincidental to my mind. Five major publishers all demanding the same pricing model at the same time? And at a time when Amazon’s newest and potentially biggest competitor in the e-book market, comes online? Hmmmm.

But I had another issue with the agency pricing model as well. Publishing was already in trouble. Book sales had been declining for awhile. The economy wasn’t as strong as it could be and that meant there was less money available for people to spend on “extras”. So, in response to this, these publishers demanded a pricing model that would put less money in their pockets? A struggling industry shouldn’t be finding ways to cut their revenue. It should find ways to maximize revenue. But then, that’s just me. I like making money.

My biggest issue with agency pricing was that it was a knee-jerk reaction by the publishers not only to Steve Jobs’ demand for it (assuming he actually made that demand) but also to their fear of Amazon. Instead of realizing that the decline of brick and mortar bookstores began long before Amazon even existed, they saw Amazon as the big evil. They forgot about how the big box stores moved into the market in the 1980s and 1990s and drove most of the smaller, locally owned bookstores out of business. They forgot how these same big box stores then used their clout to demand changes in their purchasing contracts with the publishers, redoing things like return policies, etc. They didn’t look at how these same big box stores — and the publishers themselves — failed to embrace the e-book market from the beginning. In short, they let the market get away from them and now, panicked, are trying to stop the flood.

If you read the responses to the DoJ’s proposed settlement, you’ll find a number of them talking about how there might have been collusion and, okay, that’s not nice, but it was necessary. Something has to be done to stop Amazon before it monopolizes the e-book market. Amazon was undercutting the competition. It was killing the e-book industry and now, with agency pricing, we have competition.

Sorry, what we have isn’t competition. Competition would be giving us a market where we can shop around for the best price for our dollar. Under agency pricing publishers set the price for their titles and, guess what, it is the same price everywhere. Where is the competition?

Another argument put forth by those opposed to the proposed settlement is that the settlement will mean an increase in e-book prices. They postulate that the removal of agency pricing will give Amazon a monopoly and that Amazon will then implement its evil plan to raise prices.

The problem with these arguments, and all arguments saying Amazon might do something at some unspecified point in the future, is that it is speculation. There is no proof to support these arguments. The United States is based on laws and, fortunately, we don’t tend to punish people or businesses based on something they might do at some unspecified point in the future.

Another problem is that these arguments ignore the fact that Amazon is not by any means a monopoly yet. There are a number of different e-book outlets available to the public. It isn’t Amazon’s problem that Barnes & Noble and other booksellers didn’t climb onto the bandwagon as early as they could have when it comes to e-books and e0-book readers. I understand the fear these folks have. They are playing catch up now and grasping at straws to do so. However, instead of paying millions of dollars in legal fees to fight Amazon, they should be investing these dollars in finding ways to reach out to the public and win them over to their own e-book platform or e-book reader hardware.

Publishers Weekly has the right of it here: Observing that “there is no mistaking the fear that many of the commenters have of the prospect of competing with Amazon on price,” the DoJ noted that low prices and fierce rivalries are among the core ambitions of free markets and that contrary to many commenters views, “the goal of antitrust law is to use rivalry to keep prices low for consumers’ benefit. Employing antitrust law to drive prices up would turn the Sherman Act on its head.”

The consumers’ benefit. That is what the publishers and those opposed to the DoJ settlement have forgotten. Oh, they make lip service to it, but if you really look at what they are saying, they are worried about the publishers and big box stores. They want things to continue as they have for years. The problem is that things have been broken for years and no one was doing anything about it. No one in the industry wanted to change business models because this one worked — once. Now, instead of trying to put the genie back in the bottle — and that just isn’t going to happen — they should be looking to embrace this new tech and the new demands of it instead of playing Chicken Little.

From The Bookseller: Responding to Barnes & Noble’s comments, the DoJ asserted that Barnes & Noble was “worried that it will make less money after the conspiracy than it collected while the conspiracy was ongoing” and that that was not a matter for the court to consider. Many of the benefits B&N attributes to collusive pricing could be achieved in other ways, such as lowering costs, the DoJ said.

Like I said, change the business model and cut the fat from the budget and see what happens. But no, they’d rather break the law themselves in order to hamstring Amazon and not worry about anyone else (the consumer) who might be harmed in the process.

But I think the most ludicrous comment against the proposed settlement comes from the Authors Guild. Basically, it argues that price fixing should be allowed in publishing because of the “cultural role books play in society.” WTF?!?!?!

It is important to remember that the basis of the DoJ’s suit isn’t that agency model pricing is wrong. It is that colluding to force agency model pricing onto the market is. It is also important to remember that breaking the law because you are scared of what might happen sometime in the future isn’t justified, not in a case like this. Finally, the Sherman Anti-Trust Act was written to protect the consumer, not to protect businesses from poor business practices.

And now we wait to see what the court says. While we do, you can read the DoJ’s response to the comments here.