Feb 11 2013
Monday News: Macmillan settles price fixing suit; Eink revenues are up; Another wonderful love story;
Now Sargent says that he’s come to understand the financial risks of proceeding with the lawsuit outpace the entire equity of the publishing house. What’s a bit ironic is that his statement gives testament to the collusive underpinnings of his actions:
First, the settlement called for a level of e-book discounting we believed would be harmful to the industry. We felt that if only three of the big six publishers were required to discount and we stood firm, those problems might be avoided. But when Random House agreed to be bound by the Penguin settlement, it became clear that all five of the other big six publishers would be allowing the whole agent’s commission to be used as discount, and Macmillan’s stand-alone selling at full agency price would have no impact on the overall marketplace.
In other words, one publisher standing alone can’t make a difference. All the publishers standing firm against discounting could. The terms of the settlement are essentially the same and encompass the State AG suits and the DOJ lawsuits.
The only difference for Macmillan is that there will be no delay in the execution of the settlement terms. Only Apple remains and it makes little sense for Apple to continue. All of the contracts have to be severed and renegotiated. The settling defendants cannot impose the pre existing contract terms on Apple and per the settlement agreements cannot have MFN clauses in their contracts. What would Apple win if they proceeded? At this point, basically a moral victory.
What happens now? This means that discounting for all the publishers can occur without the publishers’ prior consent. In two years, the publishers can seek to renegotiate contracts with agency pricing, but as John Sargent stated the affect on the marketplace if only one publisher insists on Agency is likely to be detrimental to the publisher rather than “improving” the marketplace for print and retail books. I feel like our long national nightmare started in 2010 is finally over.
I really appreciated how this article highlighted the loneliness Shelley Belgard felt as a young adult with hydrocephalus which inhibited some of her independent functioning. But Shelley met Bill, dated him, lived with him, and finally married him. Their problems are pretty much like any other couple’s problems. Bill, for example, was used to living with guys and when he started living with Shelley, it was a big adjustment.
“Getting used to living with Shel was a big trial for me,” says Bill, who is broad-shouldered and friendly, quick to offer a wide grin and a bear hug. His speech is sometimes slowed by a stutter but is almost unfailingly thoughtful and poignant. “That was just me trying to get from one part of my life to another. It was a big transition for me, because I was living with guys. Guys watch sports. Guys watch TV. What guys do is what guys do. They watch TV in their underwear. Now I know to keep my pants on.”
Philip Davidson, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry said “These people are really not all that different than you and me. Their investment in the lives of other people are as significant as yours and mine.”