Lessons to be learned from the eBook battle

April 16, 2012

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Last week, the Department of Justice began its official probe into an alleged eBook price-fixing conspiracy. The complaint alleges that Apple and several major publishing houses conspired to raise the price of electronic books. Many presume the alleged collusion was an effort to usurp Amazon's stronghold on market—the retailer recently enjoyed a 90 percent share of the market. Analysts estimate that said lion’s share has been reduced to 60 percent in the last two years.

So what happened two years ago? The iPad happened. Apple applied the agency model that fuels its iTunes sales to the publishing world—which meant that publishers, not Amazon, were able to set the price of the product. And that Apple received a 30 percent cut.

This is not likely to be the last battle of the device wars. But while Amazon and Apple duke it out, news industry analyst Ken Doctor says other content creators should be focusing on the new products—and audiences—they can reach through said devices.

The Newsonomics author and blogger joins Monday's Afternoon Shift for a closer look at eBooks and consumer pricing as it relates to device wars, the 99 cent/$9.99 world and what it means to creators of content (newspapers, musicians, authors) and consumers.

Doctor recently wrote about how magazines are jumping ahead of newspapers with models like Next Issue in the race for digital content innovation and monetization.