As a self-publisher, I think an article in the Wall Street Journal, 12-07-2011, is quite interesting and possibly a hint of legal issues in the future price setting of my books.
A European Union commission is investigating five publishers of e-books concerning whether or not they are in cahoots with Apple on pricing policy. They are Harper-Collins, Simon&Schuster, Penquin, Macmillan, and Hachette Livre.
Have they made an agreement with Apple on pricing and sale of e-books? The commission wants to know. I want to know. The US Justice Department and several state agencies are conducting investigations of their own.
As self-publishers we know the usual breakdown through Amazon and others is 70%-30%. These companies originally agreed to this model, but are apparently now balking at it, presumably to side with Apple, who is trying to compete with Amazon. Amazon is in a position to offer big discounts, especially on best sellers.
As self-publishers we control the pricing and marketing of our products. Will we still have that control in the future, if the investigations end in the enactment of government regulations? Worth keeping an eye on, I think.
(WSJ article cited is by Frances Robinson and Matina Stevis, 12/07/11)