The arrival of the iPad in 2010 is hailed as the dawn of the “tablet era.” It’s also the genesis of a federal price-fixing lawsuit that has entangled Apple, and many of the country’s largest book publishers. That case, and its aftermath, holds serious implications for readers, as well as authors and publishers, whether or not they’ve ever bought or published an e-book.
On Saturday, November 23, at the 30th annual Miami Book Fair International, Oren Teicher, Chief Executive Officer of theAmerican Booksellers Association, joined Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer and author of The Battle of $9.99, to lay out the landscape of the new world of book publishing and book selling. CCC’s Christopher Kenneally moderated the public discussion.
“As a reporter who covered the case closely, I saw a revealing portrait of an industry still struggling with market-changing technological innovation,” Albanese said. “Incredibly, the Apple litigation may prove to be a blessing in disguise for the publishing industry. By intervening, the U.S. Department of Justice may very well have saved the publishers from themselves.
“After all, the publishers’ hastily launched scheme with Apple in 2010 at best represented a stop-gap solution to what the defendants perceived as their biggest problem: Amazon’s low e-book prices,” he explained. “But in 2013, publishers face an even greater challenge: the iPad they so enthusiastically embraced as a wedge against Amazon’s Kindle – as well as its ever-expanding tablet competitors – have ushered in an era of never-ending competition for consumer attention, and all on a single device. Yes, you can read an e-book on your tablet, but that isn’t why you buy one.”