US sues Apple and book publishers over e-book prices– are digital comics next?

Glenn Hauman

Glenn is VP of Production at ComicMix. He has written Star Trek and X-Men stories and worked for DC Comics, Simon & Schuster, Random House, arrogant/MGMS and Apple Comics. He's also what happens when a Young Turk of publishing gets old.

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2 Responses

  1. Mike Gold says:

    Despite what it says on the cover of a print comic book, that cover price is merely the “suggested retail price.” A retailer can sell it at any price point he or she wishes. This is true of all similar material: books, magazines, newspapers, et al.

    If manufacturers and certain major retailers or one or two major retailers that together or individually hold a dominant and domineering share of their market agree the product will go out at one specific price and only at that price, that has been defined as price fixing, a violation of the Robinson-Patman Act. The problem with electronic retailing is that the playing field is different and the concept of competition is different. The DOJ says it all boils down to the same thing, but of course the electronic retailers and some of those who sell their wares through these systems will argue it’s a horse of another color and those particular laws should not apply.

    They will further argue that their monopoly (or duopoly, as the case may be) isn’t really a monopoly as that same product is available at competitive pricing at traditional brick-and-morter stores and chains.

    But Apple and those publishers who have not already settled with the DOJ can win and outfits such as ComiXology might still be left holding the bag — IF they are the exclusive distributors of sundry product.

    It will be an interesting court case.

  2. mike weber says:

    When i first heard that DoJ was investigating Apple and publishers, i assumed it was a restraint of trade case involving their e-textbook cartel.