Originally Posted by MJ1970
Other than the DOJ I think you may be the only one that thinks this email is evidence of (illegal or deceptive or fraudulent) "collusion" at all.
Seriously? There's no price-fixing going on here. There's a business deal being discussed about how to compete and present and sell a product in the market. You're imagining things. That said, there may be a place for you in the USDoJ.
Actually, you can't discuss prices when speaking to another distributor about prices in the U.S. When I was in the CD-ROM business and negotiating a distribution deal with a potential partner, the one thing the lawyers told us we were never permitted to discuss is what price they were going to sell it for. The minute you discuss prices in that context, it can be construed as price fixing.
Having said that, what's very confusing about this whole thing is that the Supreme Court ruled a few years back that manufacturers can set minimum selling prices (not just minimum advertised prices). It's one of the reasons you rarely see (for example) discounts on Nikon cameras or Sony TVs anymore. (In the case of Nikon, like Apple, they set the wholesale price so high, it's almost impossible to discount anyway.) What photo dealers have been doing rather than discounting, is to throw in some accessories to make it a better deal.
So if the Supreme Court ruled that manufacturers can have minimum selling prices, which in essence, is the list price, then why can't book publishers also set minimum selling prices which happens to be the list price?
The problem with all this is that the Agency Model does raise prices to the consumer. On the other hand, it will keep publishers in business. Generally, consumer trade book publishing is a very low margin business in the first place - most publishers make 10% net or less.
What the DOJ doesn't seem to realize is that if Amazon is permitted to continue to sell products at below or slightly above cost, it's going to be put competitors out of business. Amazon has shown that it is willing to lose money for years in order to gain market share. But once the competitors are out, Amazon will raise prices, so consumers will get screwed anyway.
In the non-Agency model, the publishers will probably get more charging Amazon wholesale than they will from Apple charging "list" and paying them 30%. But what the publishers are concerned about is lowering the perceived value of a book. Amazon's pricing could erode their print sales or force them to lower prices on print. In normal physical sales, they get 40% to 55% of cover price, depending upon whether they're selling to a retailer directly or a distributor and the quantity of the same title in the same order.