A federal judge on Thursday approved a settlement with three major publishers in a civil antitrust case brought by the Department of Justice over collusion in e-book pricing, paving the way for a war over the cost of digital books in the coming months.
For the next two years, the settling publishers may not agree to contracts with e-book retailers that restrict the retailer’s “discretion over e-book pricing,” the court said. For five years, the publishers are not allowed to make contracts with retailers that includes a most favored nation clause.
“The Government reasonably describes these time-limited provisions as providing a “cooling- off period” for the e-books industry that will allow it to return to a competitive state free from the impact of defendants’ collusive behavior,” the court said in a filing on Thursday. “The time limits on these provisions suggest that they will not unduly dictate the ultimate contours of competition within the e-books industry as it develops over time.”
Worse to worser. I want a tiny machine that I can use for content creation, not merely consumption, and the explosion of tablets has eaten the market for UMPCs and their ilk down to almost nothing, to the point that they're not even common in Japan and Korea any more. I think this latest development just makes that worse.
I'm mystified by the standard comment that you can't create content on a tablet. I bought my refurb iPad (1st gen) entirely for that purpose. It's a perfect little music machine, at the core of my current live rig, and when I set it up on a little easel, with a wireless keyboard in front, it's a transportable writing powerhouse that actually displays text in portrait mode so it looks like a page and not a page floating in the middle of some widescreen icon-infested nightmare space. When I'm rereading mode, I can leave the keyboard and little easel in my knapsack and just proofread and read through my book-in-progress and make notes if I like. Charlie Stross is correct that the text navigation is a little annoying at present, but despite the oddities, the machine works for me like the original notion of what the Macintosh was meant to be, at approximately the price point it was intended to hit.
No sarcasm or fightiness intended, but can someone explain why iPods/Android/whatever can't be used for content creation?
ePub allows for "richer" formatting. You can, for example, have things like "drop caps", pictures with text that "flows" around them, or embedded fonts, none of which Mobi supports.
The primary benefit though is simply that ePub is an open standard, while Mobipocket is "owned" by Amazon. That means that there's a much wider range of tools available to create ePub books, and stores from which to buy them.
Apple has decided to price the new iPod touch starting at $299, and no matter how you massage the prices, this doesn't leave much room for the iPad Mini. Would the market support a price of $350 when a full-sized iPad 2 costs $399, and the latest model only another $100?
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