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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

Tuesday News: 2014 publishing mergers, Tom Kabinet survives first ruling, iWatch speculation heats up, and everything you didn’t want to know about codpieces

Tuesday News: 2014 publishing mergers, Tom Kabinet survives first ruling, iWatch...

The combination of the economic downturn of 2008–2009 and the uncertainty about where the book business was headed as e-books began to take hold at the beginning of the current decade made it difficult to place a dollar valuation on companies, which, in turn, made the heads of both large and small publishers reluctant to get involved in the acquisition field as either buyers or sellers. That attitude began to change with the announcement of the Penguin–Random House merger. With the economy gradually improving and the slowdown in e-book growth providing a bit more clarity about the future of the book market, more executives have been willing to take the acquisition plunge. Indeed, in the view of some industry observers, consolidation is key to survival for companies that want to remain in the trade book business. –Publishers Weekly

Even though Tom Kabinet won today, the odds are still stacked against it. The site is going to have to win the lawsuit in both local and EU courts, a process which will likely take years. What’s more, the Dutch courts have a history of supporting industry trade groups whenever the topic of piracy comes up, including repeatedly ordering ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. That blockade was only lifted in January of this year when EU courts overruled Dutch courts, saying that the blocks were disproportionate and ineffective. –The Digital Reader

How do you convince the mass of consumers to consider an iWatch to be a necessary accessory for 21st century life? Make it a fashion-forward, celebrity-endorsed object of desire. Make it aspirational (to use the technical marketing term.) And then, once its value and exclusivity is established, transform it into an “attainable luxury,” much like the iPhone has become. From this perspective, Apple’s fashion executives have a lot to do. To start with Pruniaux, perhaps Apple now intends to sell the iWatch through the same retail channels as luxury watches like TAG Heuer—Tourneau and high-end department stores. Why limit exposure to Apple stores? Plus the carriers don’t have the same motivation to sell the iWatch as they do the iPhone. It represents an accessory, not a new data plan. –Forbes

The prime candidate being syphilis, which was rampant in Europe at the time. “The treatment of the disease was for the most part empirical with multiple agents applied locally, which along with the bulky dressings would give large frontal bulges, impossible to hide. The problem would present the tailors with a challenge that appears to have been met by them featuring the mass with the codpiece, while also appearing to advertise the wearer’s virility.” –Improbable Research