E-book revolution: The danger of the lawsuit against Apple
As students, we generally consume far more books than the average individual because textbooks are required for classes. In the long term, e-books will largely replace physical books because they are usable across multiple platforms, and are more portable. With Apple potentially vacating the e-book business, Amazon will be left as the largest e-book distributor by far. Should this happen, Amazon, which already controls nearly 60 percent of all e-book sales, would be given such a large market share that it would essentially be able to set prices as it chooses. Previously, Amazon had only lowered prices as a motivation for consumers to purchase e-books over printed books. Since Apple unveiled its Books store, the e-book market has exploded. Over time, profit motives and straightforward economic principles will inevitably drive Amazon to raise prices as long as consumers will continue to purchase e-books.
I doubt it will ever get that far. Apple will likely not be forced out of the e-book market and will simply settle with the federal government. Should that happen, the government’s lawsuit will be a boon for consumers, once again allowing competition to force prices down. In that regard, this lawsuit will be key in determining the future of electronic print media. Generally, it is a move in the right direction, against uncompetitive practices. While this lawsuit is completely necessary, I would also caution the prosecutors in this case about becoming overzealous; it may do far more harm than good in the long term. Either way, the transition from the printed page to electronic media will completely revolutionize how the written word is consumed. This lawsuit has the potential to define who will sell e-books for the foreseeable future and how much they will cost.