United States v. Apple: Competition in America

Harvard Univ. Sept. 2019. 331p. notes. index. ISBN 9780674972216. $29.95. LAW
Most people welcome a good bargain. Yet that was not the case with ebooks, according to this analysis of the public reaction to the 2013 federal court ruling against Apple corporation for price fixing. Sagers (law, Cleveland-Marshall Coll. of Law) contends that this view reflected ambivalence toward competition across the political spectrum, disdain for Amazon despite its low pricing, and the failure of antitrust law. The author begins by addressing the theoretical and historical basis underlying the case and the concept of market competition itself. The history of ebook development is then covered, from the “old business of books” to the dynamics of the Apple case. The work concludes with a discussion of antitrust practice and reform, controversy over Amazon, and publishing as a “special case” deserving of protection from the pain of competition owing to its cultural significance. Though the arguments are strong and highly instructive, the author seems to downplay the damage that a large monopoly monopsony such as Amazon could eventually inflict on publishing and the scope of writing itself.
VERDICT More of an armchair than a beach read, this authoritative work contains a wealth of information in a readable format. Highly recommended for serious readers interested in hot topics on the economics of publishing.

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