Appealing Apple Loses Again

Andrew AlbaneseCourtrooms figure prominently yet again in the latest book world news, while one innovative online service struggles to balance costs and customer demand.

In New York City, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, by a 2–1 margin, affirmed Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 finding that Apple had orchestrated a 2010 conspiracy with five major publishers to fix e-book prices.

“It wasn’t really close. In fact, the majority held that the verdict was ‘amply supported and well reasoned.’ Judge Cote’s findings of fact, as well as her reading of antitrust law, were all upheld,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, reports. “The decision paves the way for Apple to pay $400 million to consumers under its settlement with states and the consumer class, but of course, not until all its appeals are exhausted.

The digital revolution that came to publishing more than a decade ago has  certainly maintained a healthy level of billable hours for antitrust attorneys and provided journalists with reams of copy – virtual and otherwise. Where this leaves authors and publishers, though, is a subject for debate. This week, romance authors had the blues over Scribd’s decision to pare its subscription service list of titles in their genre.

Under Scribd’s subscription model, once a reader hits a certain percentage of a book, the publisher is paid its full list price,” Albanese explains for CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “Now, we’ve talked in the past about the reading appetite of romance readers. Well, it appears that the romance readers on Scribd, to play on a phrase, were reading Scribd out of house and home!”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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