The recent decision by US federal judge ordering Apple to change its current contracts with e-book publishers to remove the current ebook price fixing conditions was move welcomed by people all over the globe as a victory for fair book price competition. But up north of the border in Québec there is a hearing going on into whether fixed prices are good or a bad thing in the first place.
Proponents for fixed book prices and fixed e-book prices say that fixing prices and a high cost is the only way to ensure that publishers and authors both get a fair share of the selling price. The argument is that if a book is sold for a dollar, than the author is lucky to get $.20 but if a book is sold for $10 than the author receive 200% more. Across the country independent retailers are also largely in favour of fixing book prices as it is one of the only ways that they will be able to compete with the larger corporations whose purchasing power is vastly greater.
Recent trends suggest that in the next couple of years consumers will be buying over 50% of their products over the Internet, and the other 50% will most likely be coming from the larger businesses who are in a position to be able to cut prices far more effectively than the independents will ever be able to.
The hearings in Québec have stirred up many a debate about not only fixing book and e-book prices, but the current economic problems that traditional book publishers are currently facing. The instant gratification that the Internet provides is changing the way the world works, as book publishers, and newspaper printers and traditional music labels are finding out. Many people suggest that these companies simply must learn to move on with the times and change their current business models as the market demands, and what made you money 10 years ago minor making money this year.
So while the larger publishing companies want to protect their bottom line, the Independent companies simply want to be able to continue to exist, authors seem to be somewhat split down the middle. On one hand struggling new authors are now given a chance to be able to simply have their work read, whereas 10 years ago anyone self publishing was simply laughed at. New authors can now go to Amazon and offer their books for $.99 and be happy to be read at all. While established authors are simply more concerned about their bottom dollar, as they are the ones that have to make their living from this industry.
Fixed prices for books in a books exist in companies such as France and Germany and do a wonderful job of protecting small publishers from predacious deep discounting from large companies in today’s market.