The dispute comes as the e-book industry appears set for explosive growth. According to the new BookStats survey, e-book revenue for trade publishers jumped up by 1274 percent since 2008, reaching $878 million in 2010. E-book net sales increased to 114 million last year, up 1039.6 percent since 2008.
Filed by the Seattle-based law firm Hagens Berman, the class action law suit is against Apple, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Penguin.
The complaint centres on the agency model – used by Apple for iTunes and by most major publishers for ebook sales – in which the publisher, rather than the retailer, sets the retail price of ebooks. The companies are accused of conspiring to adopt the agency model in order to “boost profits and force e-book rival Amazon to abandon its pro-consumer discount pricing.”
Kindle Fights Back
This Wednesday 10th of August, Amazon.com launched the Kindle Cloud Reader. This will enable Kindle book owners to both buy and read their ebooks via online web browsers. All books are stored in the “cloud” for reading anytime, anywhere or can be downloaded for offline reading.
This move by Amazon is effectively bypassing Apple’s recent tough position on companies directly selling their wares to customers through free apps from the iTunes app store, that caused Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo to removed the “buy” links from their Apple apps last July. Apple reportedly now requires a 30 percent commission on all digital content from orders placed from within iOS apps. The removal of “buy” links and subsequent opening of the Kindle Cloud means Apple will not perceive the 30% commission it demands.
Sharing Books With Google
Google+ has initiated a new book sharing program to rival that of Facebook. Many tech critics and experts find it better than the Facebook version.
Users interested in sharing a book with friends on Google+ can “Simply click on the Google+ Share box on the About the Book page or in a Google Books preview, enter a message, then select which circles to share details about the book with, and click share.
Additionally, they can share the electronic version of the book, thus automatically sending information about the book, its cover page, synopsis (wherever available) along with a link to Google Books.