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Agency pricing

Monday News: German authors v. Amazon, retailers v. Apple, Apple shareholders v. Apple, and Downton Abbey v. plastic water bottles

Monday News: German authors v. Amazon, retailers v. Apple, Apple shareholders...

The literary culture in Germany and Austria differs profoundly from that in the United States or Britain, in that pricing is protected by laws that forbid deep discounting, or other purely commercial practices. Many authors fear Amazon will use its dominant position to seek to overturn these laws. –New York Times

I distinctly remember the moment (not really) Agency Pricing hit BoB, because I was in the process of buying some trad published books and could not complete the transaction because of the pricing change. That was the beginning of the end in my relationship with BoB, and, I suspect, many other readers had similar experiences.

In a conference in her Manhattan courtroom, Judge Cote conferred with the parties on discovery issues, and outlined a schedule that could have the case ready for trial by late 2015. Although a final schedule was not set, the judge said she would order the parties to enter mediation in December. –Publishers Weekly

This suit stems from some of the other lawsuits Apple has found itself embroiled in, particularly the 2010 price-fixing suit and the class action suit over employment issues. Among other things, plaintiffs assert that Apple’s reputation and “innovation” have suffered over the past few years. This may turn out to be the most interesting suit of all filed against Apple, seeing as it’s been filed on behalf of the company’s own shareholders.

Filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California this week, the derivative shareholder complaint prepared by attorneys for plaintiff R. Andre Klein accuses Apple senior directors and officers of “breach of fiduciary duty, gross mismanagement, corporate waste, and breach of the duty of honest services.”

Individual defendants, including Jobs and Cook, allegedly caused the company to violate antitrust laws, issue false and misleading financial proxy statements and stifle worker wages, according to the argument. As a result, Apple, which must be included alongside Klein and shareholders as a nominal defendant, was harmed by being forced into a time and asset consuming settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2010, as well as an ongoing class action lawsuit leveled by a group of employees. Further, the company’s reputation suffered, as did innovation. –Apple Insider

The cast teamed up with WaterAid, a UK-based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing clean water to the world, for a funny photo that makes sure everyone knows that they are in on the joke, well hydrated and willing to use their media ruckus-raising powers for good. –Vanity Fair

Wednesday News: Amazon scores a point against Hachette, the Pentagon is watching us, Torstar shareholders okay Harlequin sale, and re-visioning the ‘bodice ripper’

Wednesday News: Amazon scores a point against Hachette, the Pentagon is...

Amazon Offers Authors 100% of eBook Sales During Dispute with Hachette – You’ve got to give it to Amazon and Hachette – both are doing a good job of keeping attention focused on the dispute. Frankly, I think Amazon is winning the public relations aspect of the battle, and it’s because of strategies like this. Apparently Amazon floated a letter to a number of Hachette authors asking their opinion on prospective strategies to solve the dispute. There’s a lot of legitimate speculation that Amazon isn’t really serious with this letter, but I don’t think it really matters, because they knew it would be leaked, and it does a pretty competent job of making it look like Hachette is the stalling, uncooperative, insensitive party. Your move, Hachette.

We agree that authors are caught in the middle while these negotiations drag on, and we’re particularly sensitive to the effect on debut and midlist authors. But Hachette’s unresponsiveness and unwillingness to talk until we took action put us in this position, and unless Hachette dramatically changes their negotiating tempo, this is going to take a really long time. –The Digital Reader

The Pentagon Funded Study of Lady Gaga’s Tweets – Despite the execrable title of this post, it’s a worthy read because of the revelations about the way in which the US government is both studying and potentially manipulating social media for reasons that may be even creepier and more troubling than Facebook’s. I don’t think anyone really believes that world governments are oblivious to or uninterested in social media and in the online communication patterns of people more generally, but it’s starting to feel like we’re just beginning to crack the seal on all sorts of icky, intrusive experimentation in the name of ‘science’ or ‘critical knowledge.’

It’s not just Facebook who’s interested in studying your status updates. The Pentagon, it turns out, has been studying social media use with a series of research projects reminiscent of Facebook’s controversial emotion manipulation study for years.

Some of these programs, described in a Guardian report on Tuesday, were funded by the Pentagon’s cutting-edge research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), mostly known for far-out ideas such as mind-controlled robotic arms, dystopian-looking war robots and laser weapons worth [sic] of Star Trek or Star Wars, [sic] –Mashable

Torstar Corporation Special Shareholders’ Meeting – Torstar has taken another crucial step toward closing the sale of Harlequin to Harper Collins by securing the approval of its Class A shareholders to move forward with the transfer (different classes of shareholders have different types and levels of voting and other rights). I sure hope Harlequin’s sale doesn’t portend the end of everything unique and reader-focused the company has brought to the Romance genre.

The transaction remains subject to certain customary approvals and closing conditions, including certain regulatory approvals. The parties continue to work towards satisfying these conditions and obtaining the necessary approvals. –Yahoo Finance

Bodice Ripper: Dress made from romance novels. – Now here’s a clever, even beautiful, re-visioning of the “bodice ripper.” –Open Road Media