Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2013 Issue

Apple Inc. to Appeal Ebook Price-Fixing Verdict

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Apple files notice it will appeal.

Apple, Inc., has officially notified the U. S. Court of Appeals that it intends to appeal the judgment against it in the recent ebook price fixing case. Apple, along with five publishers, was accused of a conspiracy to fix the prices of electronic books by forcing Amazon to raise their charges to levels sought by Apple. Apple wished to join Amazon in selling electronic books online, but did not wish to join their rival in offering them for prices that left little if any room for profit. Amazon is focused on long-term market share, and is willing to forgo profits today for market share tomorrow. Apple wishes to have its cake and eat it too.

 

Apple and the publishers had numerous conversations, and on one day, the publishers all switched to an agency model of pricing. In an agency model, the publisher sets the retail price and all retailers must charge that amount. No one is allowed to discount, as Amazon had been doing. It forced Amazon to raise its prices.

 

While agency pricing may sound like price fixing in itself, it is not. Publishers can force all retailers to charge a minimum price for their books. What they can't do is get together and all agree to adopt the agency model together. That is what the U.S. Department of Justice believed had happened when they all raised prices together, and the D.O.J. believed that Apple was a major instigator of the claimed conspiracy.

 

Ultimately, all of the publishers chose not to fight city hall. They all reached settlements with the D.O.J. Apple did not. Apple contended that it had done no wrong, that it had not conspired with the publishers to set prices. They fought the case in court. They lost.

 

The District Court ruled that Apple had conspired to fix prices. No monetary judgment has yet been set, but the Court did order a monitor be placed in Apple's headquarters to make sure they do not engage in such behavior again. Apple still believes it owes no damages, deserves no monitors. So, on October 3, they officially filed a notice with the Appeals Court of their intent to appeal.

 

Apple has not stated a grounds for its appeal. It has a few months to put the details together. However, they made sure to leave every door open, writing in the notice that it appealed against the injunction and “any and all orders and rulings that were adverse to it.” Some hints of Apple's claims may be gleaned in objections Apple earlier filed with the trial court. Apple claimed that various witnesses they believed helpful to their case were not permitted to testify, certain testimony was disregarded, and incorrect inferences were drawn. This will all undoubtedly come out in greater detail when the appeal itself is filed.

 

An unscientific perusal of articles by legal experts suggests that most believe Apple has a difficult challenge. The consensus appears to be that the decision was well-reasoned and facts clearly established. Nevertheless, Apple will undoubtedly be bringing the best legal minds to the challenge, and no one can better afford an appeal than Apple. Apple earns almost a billion dollars a week and has for a long time been struggling to figure out what to with all of its money. No matter how much it invests in the appeal, it will be barely a drop in the bucket. Having more money than you know what to do with is one of those unusual challenges most of us will never experience.

 

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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