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Agency pricing

Thursday News: Klout sells to Lithium, Diesel eBooks closes, Books on Board sues Apple & Big 5, and NASA gives us pretty pictures

Thursday News: Klout sells to Lithium, Diesel eBooks closes, Books on...

Klout acquired for $200 million by Lithium Technologies – Remember when everyone was checking their Klout scores? Well, apparently Klout’s own score has just risen exponentially, with this $200 million acquisition by Lithium, in a mix of cash and private stock. Are people still paying attention to Klout? The whole thing seemed kind of random to me, but I admit I never studied the service in any detail.

Early on, Klout’s scoring process earned controversy. How valuable is an individual’s social pull? Could it be monetized? And how exactly were Klout scores achieved? To wit, at one point, President Obama ranked lower than tech influencer Robert Scoble, an issue that was remedied with a major redesign in 2012 that offered more accurate scores, as well as further transparency into how scores are measured. Since then, Klout has also expanded with Klout for Business, a portal intended offering deeper analytics to brands, as well as content creation aggregation, so users could share articles and posts with their audience. –Fortune/CNN

Diesel eBooks to Close – Although apparently Diesel claims it’s not gone for good, the short notice of their shutdown (and apparently you have until March 31st to back up your books) doesn’t exactly bode well, does it. Nor does the incredibly brief announcement on their website. –Publishers Weekly

Defunct Indie eBook Retailer BooksOnBoard Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple, 5 Publishers – And speaking of Diesel, Books on Board has joined them in filing an antitrust suit against Apple and the Big 5 publishers, arguing, like Diesel, that they were harmed by the collusion. In BOB’s case, they are claiming that “agency” pricing effectively shut them down, and considering my own experience trying to buy books right when the pricing scheme was rolling over into “agency,” that argument doesn’t seem so far fetched.

They’re basically making the same argument as the one Diesel eBooks made when that ebookstore filed its suit a couple weeks ago. Both parties are pointing to the lawsuit which the Department of Justice filed against Apple and the publishers in April 2012. The 5 publishers settled before trial, but Apple lost in July 2013.

. . .

According to the complaint, BooksOnBoard says that before Agency took effect in April 2010, they were the largest independent ebook retailer in the United States, with revenue behind only Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (I think they are exaggerating for effect.)  –The Digital Reader

Galleries: NASA celebrates the Cosmos – And now, a virtual palate cleanser. Enjoy! –

Tuesday News: digital domestic violence, B&N fires hardware engineers, Canada nixes agency pricing, and Open Road buys E-Reads

Tuesday News: digital domestic violence, B&N fires hardware engineers, Canada nixes...

Roberta Valente, a consultant who works with the Hotline, said laws are struggling to keep up with the changing digital landscape. “This is a new world for legislators,” she wrote in an email. Valente also wrote that those working in the domestic violence non-profit space are hopeful there will be more that can be done from a law enforcement standpoint eventually, particularly with efforts to seriously address cyber-stalking. –Daily Beast

“We’ve been very clear about our focus on rationalizing the NOOK business and positioning it for future success and value creation. As we’ve aligned NOOK’s cost structure with business realities, staffing levels in certain areas of our organization have changed, leading to some job eliminations. We’re not going to comment specifically on those eliminations.” –Business Insider

Some of the more notable points in the Canadian agreement state that for a period of 18 months:

  • The signing publishers cannot restrict an ebook retailer’s ability to set, alter or reduce the retail price of any ebook for sale to consumers in Canada.
  • Publishers cannot restrict retailers’  ability to offer price discounts or any other form of promotions.
  • The publishers cannot enter into a new agreement with any ebook retailer that limits the retailer’s ability to discount ebooks.

And for four and a half years after signing the agreement, the publishers cannot enter into an agreement with an ebook retailer that includes a “most favoured nation” (MFN) clause. An MFN clause means that a retailer is guaranteed the lowest price its competitors are offered. -Digital Book World

E-Reads authors include Harlan Ellison, sci-fi author Greg Bear and mystery author Barbara Parker. Open Road has partnered with other publishers to market their ebooks, but this is its first straight acquisition. The terms were not disclosed. –GIGAOM