Friday, April 27, 2012

The Wrong Target

John Gruber picked up on this press release from Amazon. Gruber focused on this tidbit:
“I’m excited to announce that we now have more than 130,000 new, in-copyright books that are exclusive to the Kindle Store – you won’t find them anywhere else. They include many of our top bestsellers – in fact, 16 of our top 100 bestselling titles are exclusive to our store,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of
I agree with Gruber's take on this:
So 16 percent of bestselling titles are exclusive to the Kindle Store — and the Department of Justice is investigating Apple’s iBookstore. Got it.
 This is not to condone the alleged coordination among the publishers, if such a thing actually occurred. (At the same time, it seems to me a powerful argument to say that Apple offered an agency model to the publishing industry, and agreeing to an agency model required a certain amount of coordination among the publishers. Thus, even if the allegation is correct, it's not necessarily an antitrust violation, as much as the Antitrust Division would have you believe it.) But one has to wonder about the consumer benefit of attacking an attempt to solve a problem - Amazon's control of the e-book market and an increasing chunk of the physical book market - that, in the long run, likely has undesirable effects on consumers.

Forest for the trees, Antitrust Division.

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