Government E-Book Case Helps Amazon Move Toward Monopoly
Everyone knows that new technologies can upend old industries, whether the victims are makers of horse-drawn carriages or television broadcasters. Last week’s settlement in a federal price-fixing case involving book publishers, Apple and amazon.com shows that they can also turn the law upside down.
To hear the government talk, this is all about breaking up a conspiracy to drive up the price of e-books on your Kindle, iPad or other device. “Ensuring that e-books are as affordable as possible,” as Atty. Gen. Eric Holder declared in announcing the original settlement in April.
What’s wrong with nipping a nefarious scheme in the bud, especially if the result is that amazon.com, which was the supposed target of the alleged conspiracy, is liberated to resume selling e-books to you at the rock-bottom price of $9.99?
Plenty, if that price is designed to drive off all of Amazon’s e-book competition — and kill off the last remaining brick-and-mortar bookstores too — so it can set its own prices as it wishes down the line.