Seventeen more states have joined the antitrust lawsuit against Apple and several book publishing houses over the pricing of ebooks. Perhaps more interesting are certain details released in the latest filing that were previously redacted, including one from Steve Jobs. Portions of this email have been seen before, but this is the first chance the public has had to see a major negotiation written by the former CEO.
As reported by PaidContent, Steve Jobs became directly involved in the pricing negotiations after Apple executive "Eddy Cue could not secure one of the Conspiring Publisher’s commitment directly from an executive." Jobs "wrote to an executive at the parent company, in part":
As I see it, [Conspiring Publisher] has the following choices:
1. Throw in with Apple and see if we can all make a go of this to create a real mainstream ebooks market at $12.99 and $14.99.
2. Keep going with Amazon at $9.99. You will make a bit more money in the short term, but in the medium term Amazon will tell you they will be paying you 70% of $9.99. They have shareholders too.
3. Hold back your books from Amazon. Without a way for customers to buy your ebooks, they will steal them. This will be the start of piracy and once started, there will be no stopping it. Trust me, I’ve seen this happen with my own eyes.
Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see any other alternatives. Do you?
The complaint goes on to claim that the publishers and Apple "worked together to force" Random House -- the one publishing company to turn down the agency pricing model favored by Apple -- to adopt it as well. The claim goes so far as to claim that publishing companies tried to convince Barnes & Noble to not feature Random House books in any of its advertising, something that B&N apparently did.