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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Daily Report: Apple Ruling Strengthens Amazon’s Powerful Hand

A federal judge’s antitrust ruling against Apple over e-book prices illustrates how much the book industry has changed and bolsters the advantage held by Amazon.com, David Streitfeld reports in The New York Times.

“We’re at a moment when cultural power is passing to new gatekeepers,” said Joe Esposito, a publishing consultant. “Heaven forbid that we should have the government telling our entrepreneurs what to do, but there is a social policy issue here. We don’t want the companies to become a black hole that absorbs all light except their own.”

The Justice Department’s case against Apple and major book publishers will have little immediate impact on the selling of books. But it might be a long time before publishers try to take charge of their fate again in such a bold fashion. Drawing the attention of the government once was bad enough; twice could be a disaster.

Amazon is left free to exert its dominance over e-books â€" even as it gains market share with physical books. The retailer declined to comment on Wednesday.

“Amazon is not in most of the headlines, but all of the big events in the book world are about Amazon,” said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild.