E-book Stories October 13, 2015

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The U.S. Justice Department has said that is now satisfied with Apple’s measures to guard against any repetition of the type of anti-competitive behaviour ruled illegal in the long-running ebooks trialBloomberg reports that the department has recommended that the court-appointed monitor is no longer necessary.

In a letter to the Manhattan federal judge who found in 2013 that Apple illegally conspired with publishers to set e-book prices, the U.S. said Apple has “now implemented meaningful antitrust policies, procedures, and training programs that were obviously lacking at the time Apple participated in and facilitated the horizontal price-fixing conspiracy found by this court.”

The letter did, however, note that Apple “never embraced a cooperative working relationship with the monitor” …  expand full story

E-book Stories April 15, 2015

Feature: Why I edited a novel on an iPad (and why I Kickstarted it afterwards)

After noting that I planned and wrote a novel on my MacBook Pro 17, it might surprise you to learn that I did much of the editing on my iPad.

I began the editing on my Macs – the Pro when I was at home, the Air when I was elsewhere. At that point, I still wanted to be in Scrivener in case structural edits were needed: scenes that needed to happen earlier or later in the story.

I also used my Macs to incorporate feedback from alpha and beta readers. Alpha readers were subject-matter experts (airline pilot, aircraft engineer, software developers and so on), who could identify any technical errors or omissions. Beta readers were technothriller fans who provided more general feedback on the story itself.

E-book Stories December 16, 2014

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Some of the judges in Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook trial verdict appear sympathetic to the company’s argument that its deals with publishers helped, rather than hindered, competition, reports Reuters.

Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs asked a Department of Justice lawyer why it was wrong for the publishers to get together to defeat a “monopolist” that was using “predatory pricing.”

“It’s like the mice getting together to put a bell on the cat,” Jacobs said.

The court had earlier heard evidence that at the time Apple entered the ebooks market, Amazon held a 90% market share …  expand full story

E-book Stories December 15, 2014

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Apple is having a busy time in court at the moment. Not only is it defending the iPod DRM class action, but is this morning beginning its appeal of the verdict of last year’s ebook trial.

The court ruled that Apple was guilty of anti-competitive practices in two ways. First, the company asked publishers to switch from wholesale pricing – where publishers sold in bulk to retailers, who set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set retail prices and retailers took a commission. The court ruled that this reduced price competition …  expand full story

E-book Stories March 25, 2014

Amazon sending out credit to customers affected by ebook price fixing settlement

Amazon has begun issuing credit to accounts that qualify for a refund as a result of the price fixing settlement reached between Amazon and publishers. Customers are eligible for refund credit on ‘qualifying’ Kindle book purchases between April 1st 2010 and May 21st, 2012.

E-book Stories March 6, 2014

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Apple’s prospects of a successful appeal against the ruling in the ebooks trial may be improved by a brief filed by two economists from Caltech and NYU who suggest that the ruling was in error and call for it to be reversed.

Apple was found guilty of anti-competitive practices on two grounds. First, it asked publishers to switch from a wholesale pricing model – where publishers sold books in bulk and retailers set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set prices and retailers took a percentage cut. This, the court found, reduced price competition …  expand full story

E-book Stories February 26, 2014

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Apple has formally appealed the Department of Justice’s ebooks antitrust case, via the Associated Press. Previously, Apple has only officially complained about the power of the appointed monitor — now they are asking for the entire case to be re-evaluated.

Apple claims it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price fixing and that Apple setup iBooks through legal arrangements without knowledge of any behind-the-scenes collusion.

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E-book Stories March 5, 2013

Apple releases iBooks 3.1 with support for iBookstore in Japan, local content & improvements for reading Asian language books

Update: Apple issued a press release on the matter, below the fold.

Apple released version 3.1 of iBooks today on the App Store and with it comes hundreds of thousands of Japanese books to the iBookstore in Japan. Among the local content on the iBookstore in Japan is light novels and manga, while Apple also noted that it has made “a number of improvements for reading Asian language books.”

AllThingsD reported in January that Apple was in talks with Japanese publishers to work out deals for the iBookstore, which had lacked local Japanese content since it first launched in 2010. Up until now, the store in Japan has consisted of mostly public domain content, but it appears Apple has finally come to an agreement with a many of the large publishers in the country.

What’s New in Version 3.1

The iBookstore in Japan now has hundreds of thousands of books available for purchase, including fiction, manga, light novels and more.  This version of iBooks also includes a number of improvements for reading Asian language books.

iBooks 3.1 is available to download on the App Store now.

E-book Stories October 23, 2012

Apple CEO Tim Cook is live on stage at the company’s special media event in California, and he just announced a new version of iBooks.

News and features:

  • 400 million iBooks downloads
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Better integrated with iCloud— purchased books show up on shelf
  • Fantastic new ways to share — tap favorite quote and share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Supporting over 40 languages— new Korean, Chinese, Japanese
  • Available today, free download

Education news and iBooks Author:

  • iBooks textbooks reinvent the textbook full screen gorgeous layouts, interactive
  • Textbook available for 80 percent of high school
  • 2,500 US classrooms with iBooks textbooks
  • Publishers can now take own fonts and provide custom look
  • Multitouch widgets
  • 94 percent of fortune 500 is testing or deploying iPad—seeing similar in smaller business

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E-book Stories October 14, 2012

Earlier this week, Amazon began letting customers know if they were eligible for a share of the $69 million state attorney settlements with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon and Schuster. Today, Apple started notifying iBooks customers, who bought an iBook from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012, of the same payout.

The payout will be dispersed as Kindle/iBooks credit or customers can call a number to request a check for delivery in February.

Notably, if you purchased the Steve Jobs eBook bio from Simon and Schuster on iBooks or Amazon, you should receive this notice.

To be clear, this is separate from the Federal price-fixing case surrounding Apple and some publishers. Barnes and Noble and other eBook distributors are likely doing the same thing. The Amazon version is below:

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E-book Stories September 6, 2012

Federal judge approves settlement with three publishers in Apple/Amazon ebook price fixing case

We noted last month that Apple filed a document with the Southern District of New York attempting to have settlements with the U.S. Department of Justice and three publishers delayed until after the high profile eBook price-fixing case goes to trial in June 2013. The Wall Street Journal reported today that a federal judge approved the settlements, which would allow Amazon and other retailers to return to its previous model and freely set eBook prices. Not surprisingly, Apple is expected to appeal the decision:

In a move that could reshape the publishing industry, a federal judge has approved a settlement with three of the nation’s largest book publishers over alleged collusion in the pricing of e-books… Apple has previously indicated in court papers that it would seek to appeal any decision approving the settlement. As a result, it could take some time before consumers see lower prices on e-books… “It’s devastating to bookstores,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. “For two years the settling publishers must allow vendors to discount e-books at any price they want. The court acknowledges that this restores the status quo conditions before 2010, when Amazon was able capture 90% of the e-book market. The Justice Department is reshaping the literary marketplace without submitting a single economic study to the court to justify its actions.”

E-book Stories July 18, 2012

WSJ: Sen. Schumer presses DOJ to drop Apple eBook suit

Sen. Charles Schumer pleaded with the U.S. Justice Department in the Wall Street Journal yesterday to drop its antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers by suggesting it will only lay the foundation for Amazon to reclaim control over the eBook industry.

According to the New York senator’s Op-Ed piece:

Recently the Department of Justice filed suit against Apple and major publishers, alleging that they colluded to raise prices in the digital books market. While the claim sounds plausible on its face, the suit could wipe out the publishing industry as we know it, making it much harder for young authors to get published.

The suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market it occupied for years before competition arrived in the form of Apple. If that happens, consumers will be forced to accept whatever prices Amazon sets.

The Justice Department filed suit last spring against Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin Group for allegedly fixing eBook prices, while Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster settled to dodge the legal dispute.

Amazon set its eBook prices at $9.99, but, according to the government (via The Hill), Apple and the publishers supposedly colluded to build a new business model that drove the standard price of eBooks up and placed pricing in the hands of publishers instead of retailers.

Schumer claimed the business model would effectively relinquish the eBook market from Amazon’s dominion. He also mentioned Amazon’s share dropped to 60 percent after the publishers launched the new pricing matrix, while older eBook prices also lowered.

The Justice Department has ignored this overall trend and instead focused on the fact that the prices for some new releases have gone up. This misses the forest for the trees. While consumers may have a short-term interest in today’s new release e-book prices, they have a more pressing long-term interest in the survival of the publishing industry.

Like Apple contended in its legal response, Schumer is concerned the Justice Department’s lawsuit allows “monopolists and hurt innovators,” while having a “deterrent effect not only on publishers but on other industries that are coming up with creative ways to grow and adapt to the Internet.”

He further beseeched the Justice Department to “reassess its prosecution priorities” and assemble inclusive guidelines before filing antitrust suits in the future.

Check out the full memo at The Wall Street Journal

E-book Stories May 25, 2012

Apple’s legal response to DOJ in eBook price-fixing case

Ars Technica posted Apple’s legal response (PDF) to the U.S. Department of Justice’s lawsuit against the Cupertino, Calif.-based Company, and six publishers, for allegedly conspiring to fix eBook prices. In the document, Apple condemned the federal government for siding with “monopoly, rather than competition,” and then called the Department of Justice’s complaint “fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law.”

Phrases like “false” and “absurd” appear throughout Apple’s response to the accusations, which parallels the company’s statement from April, in regards to the suit’s filing, where Apple essentially said it is breaking monopolies, rather than starting them. Daring Fireball cropped this little nugget from the legal response that summarizes the entire 31-page document:

The Government sides with monopoly, rather than competition, in bringing this case. The Government starts from the false premise that an eBooks “market” was characterized by “robust price competition” prior to Apple’s entry. This ignores a simple and incontrovertible fact: before 2010, there was no real competition, there was only Amazon. At the time Apple entered the market, Amazon sold nearly nine out of every ten eBooks, and its power over price and product selection was nearly absolute. Apple’s entry spurred tremendous growth in eBook titles, range and variety of offerings, sales, and improved quality of the eBook reading experience. This is evidence of a dynamic, competitive market. These inconvenient facts are ignored in the Complaint. Instead, the Government focuses on increased prices for a handful of titles. The Complaint does not allege that all eBook prices, or even most eBook prices, increased after Apple entered the market.

E-book Stories April 12, 2012

Apple finally commented late this evening on the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against the company. What did Apple think up with those extra 48 hours? Peter Kafka got the scoop from Apple’s Tom Neumayr:

The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.

The civil antitrust suit alleged that Apple’s move to let publishers set their own prices—and it is a requirement that publishers do not sell their digital books for cheaper elsewhere—forced consumers to pay millions more for books than they should have.

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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and five other publishers over eBook price-fixing. The Department of Justice reached a settlement with three of the publishers in the suit, but Apple, MacMillan, and Penguin are standing strong (the U.S. is also after Simon and Shuster). Yesterday, MacMillan’s CEO released a letter on the matter and explained why the publisher chose not to settle. In the note, he said the Department of Justice’s settlement demands “could have allowed Amazon to recover the monopoly position it had built before our switch to the agency model.” He also said it is “hard to settle a lawsuit when you know you have done no wrong” and called the agency model the future of an “open and competitive market.”

As CNET noted, the Department of Justice may have a more difficult case against Apple. For one, Apple does not have a strong-hold in the eBook market, because Amazon has the commanding lead with its Kindle sales. The Department of Justice has a case against the publishers rather—and that is most likely why three of them have already chosen to settle. Apple only holds open the store, while publishers are the ones who choose the prices to set.

The settlement reached with three of the publishers yesterday is said to give them “freedom to reduce the prices of their e-book titles,” which allows Amazon to go back to its previous wholesale model.

A key point that the Department of Justice is using in its lawsuit is when all five of the publishers met together at a hotel in London to talk over eBook prices. Apple was not present at the meeting, so this may give the Department of Justice a harder time to press the Cupertino-based Company. Of course, the Department of Justice could still come out victorious, but it may have to dig a little deeper against Apple than it did with publishers. We are sure there will be more out of this case as time goes on.

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E-book Stories April 11, 2012

Bloomberg is reporting that the United States has filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New York district court against Apple and publishers Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster over alleged eBook price-fixing. The news follows reports from Reuters yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice was preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers accused of colluding to fix and increase the price of eBooks.

According to the report, all the parties named in the suit—except Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple— are willing to settle to avoid legal costs. The Department of Justice could announce “unspecified” settlements as early as today.

At the core of the settlement discussions is the agency model introduced with the iPad in 2010. The deal with publishers was described by Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway…. They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

The model allows publishers to set their own prices as long as Apple gets a 30 percent cut and a guarantee that the same content is not offered lower elsewhere, but the Department of Justice is trying to return to Amazon’s wholesale model by giving retailers like Amazon control over pricing. Bloomberg explained: expand full story

E-book Stories March 27, 2012

J.K. Rowling’s widely popular Harry Potter series is at-last available electronically.

The author’s own online Pottermore Shop displays all seven titles in ePub format, and prices vary between $8 each and $10 each, per copy. Fans can also purchase the entire series for $57.54.

The ePub files are unprotected and compatible with most iOS devices, Android devices, and any other eReader, tablet, or smartphone that accepts ePub format. In addition, the Harry Potter eBooks are available in Amazon Kindle formats. A full list of compatible devices and reading services is also available on the Pottermore Shop website.

Conspicuously, Rowling did not make the eBooks available through Apple’s iBookstore.

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E-book Stories September 12, 2011

As noted by SetteB.it, the Steve Jobs bio “Enhanced eBook” is now set by Simon and Shuster at 656 pages. That’s over 200 additional pages more than the previous page count which may have been a very low estimate. Recently, Walter Isaacson said that Jobs’ resignation would be added to the book, but it seems like a stretch that that chapter would add 50% more content.

Also, the publication date has move from November 21st, to “on or around November 21st”, signaling that there may be some movement in the release date.

You can pre-order the book at Amazon or on Apple’s iBookStore where it still is listed at 448 pages. expand full story

E-book Stories July 25, 2011

  . Before left and after right.

You kind of knew this was going to happen: Google Books is now back in the  iOS App Store, but without ability to buy books directly from online.  Note the missing button at the top left.

Apple, you win. Google, Users lose.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com expand full story

E-book Stories July 23, 2011

For reasons yet undefined, Google Books has been removed from the iTunes App Store.  We noticed the App was gone earlier this week but thought it might have been just a blip.  Now it has been awhile.

Google Books was just updated in April with new 3D page turning, landscape mode and search so it is unlikely that Google decided to orphan it.  Google launched its Books initiative in December of this year as a competitor to Amazon and Apple’s eBookstores.

So why is it gone now?  The timing with Apple’s new, controversial Terms of Service would seem like the most obvious explanation.

Was Google in violation of Apple’s new in-app purchase terms of service? Or, is this because Harry Potter is coming out on Google Books?

We’ve reached out to Google and Apple for answers.

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E-book Stories December 15, 2010

As expected, Apple has updated its iBooks app to version 1.2. The new version has just made its quiet debut on the AAPL servers.

What’s new?

Yep, as we exclusively revealed hereand here: better organization and printing and emailing of PDF’s. And that’s only part of the mix. expand full story

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