Sound Off: Is the sky really falling on NOOK?
June 26, 2013

Admittedly, yesterday's news could have been much better. In some alternate reality, William Lynch could have gotten on that earnings call and announced that things were so smashingly good for the NOOK tablet business that Barnes & Noble was stepping up production and launching bigger (NOOK HD+ LANDSCAPE)  and smaller (THE POCKET NOOK!) versions.

But in this reality, Lynch announced that competing with the likes of Amazon and Apple in the tabletsphere was not working for the retailer, and that while it would continue to manufacture its popular NOOK eInk e-readers (Simple Touch & w/GlowLight) and develop NOOK apps for other devices, B&N would cease manufacturing NOOK tablets and look for a third-party partner to license and manufacture co-branded NOOK tablets.

The Apple e-book antitrust case: The final four days
June 17, 2013

Eddy Cue, the alleged "ringmaster" of a conspiracy to raise e-book prices in 2010, returns to a Manhattan federal court Monday in the final four days of the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple (AAPL).

Having sailed through a grilling Thursday by the government's lawyer, the star witness of U.S.A. v. Apple will complete the friendly questioning that Apple's chief counsel began Thursday afternoon.

Among the topics they are expected to cover Monday are a dinner with Macmillan's CEO that the government finds suspicious and a "smoking gun" e-mail from Steve Jobs

Key witness Eddy Cue to testify in Apple e-book trial
June 13, 2013

Apple’s head of iTunes, Eddy Cue, will testify Thursday as the central witness in the Justice Department’s lawsuit against the tech giant for allegedly conspiring to raise e-book prices.

According to prosecutors, Cue was the chief liaison between Apple — under late founder Steve Jobs — and five publishers, all trying to create a new model for e-book sales that would raise prices above Amazon’s average $9.99 offerings.

Prosecutors said Cue coordinated a joint plan for the publishers to move away from Amazon’s wholesale e-books model.

Murray and Sargent testify in price-fixing case
June 11, 2013

HarperCollins signed with Apple iBookstore ahead of its launch because of considerations for the publisher's parent company News Corp's larger relationship with the technology company, according to reports of the e-book price-fixing case yesterday [10th June].

As the second week of the New York e-book price fixing case hearing got underway, HarperCollins c.e.o. Brian Murray said he had been prepared to not sign with Apple ahead of its announcement about the iBookstore.

The key to the e-book antitrust case: What Apple's deal meant
June 10, 2013

On day 5, the government uses HarperCollins's words against it.

Plaintiff's Exhibit 865, introduced by the Department of Justice by attorney Larry Buterman after he spent an hour cross examining HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray -- examination that was like pulling teeth -- illustrates as well as anything the gap between the government's case and Apple's (AAPL) defense.

It consists of four quotes from HarperCollins executives -- two from Murray himself -- that according to Ruderman indicated that Apple presented publishers with a stark choice:

Apple hammers Google witness hard in e-book pricing trial
June 6, 2013

Apple had a field day with Google in court here on Thursday.

Apple started to pick away at the Department of Justice's claim that the tech giant conspired to inflate e-book prices by repeatedly and rapidly firing questions at a key Google witness.

The tactic paid off for lead Apple attorney Orin Snyder, who began to wear down on Thomas Turvey, director of strategic relationships for Google. Turvey appeared increasingly frazzled and frustrated as the afternoon went on.

Day 4 of Apple e-book case: The meeting in Jeff Bezos' boathouse
June 6, 2013

"I'm not comfortable discussing the contents of that meeting."

That's what Russell Grandinetti, Amazon's (AMZN) vice president for Kindle content, said when asked in court Friday about a meeting he attended in Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' Seattle boathouse on Sunday Jan. 24, 2010.

It was the only question in more than four hours of testimony that Grandinetti declined to answer.

Jan. 24 was a significant date in several respects. Amazon executives knew that Apple (AAPL) had scheduled a major product announcement for the following Wednesday.

Numbers Game: Books or Beer?
May 22, 2013

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a picture of words worth?

This month's Harper's Index featured a fascinating snapshot (see photo), in just a few lines, of a current trend in book publishing:

Percentage change in the past twenty-five years in the Consumer Price Index: +41

In the price of beer: +40

Of books: -1

Pearson's Penguin Settles States' Ebook Antitrust Claims
May 22, 2013

Pearson Plc’s Penguin unit said it reached a $75 million settlement of antitrust claims by 33 states and consumers over electronic-book pricing.

Penguin, which was sued last year for allegedly participating in a conspiracy with other publishers and Apple Inc. (AAPL) to fix the price of e-books, announced the settlement in a statement today. The company resolved related claims with the U.S. Justice Department in December.

Amazon Unlocks The Value Of Fan Fiction With 'Kindle Worlds'
May 22, 2013

In a funny way, fan fiction is the purest form of literary art there is, the one most untainted by commerce. It’s hard to make money from it because someone else owns the intellectual property (unless you change the details just enough, in which case you can make quite a lot of money on it. Just ask E.L. James.)

Amazon’s ready to change that. A new program called Kindle Worlds will let would-be writers publish, and profit from, fan-fictional e-books with the blessing of the original characters’ creators…