Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

How to "Double-Delete" Your Email, by Major Book Publishers/Defendants

I may never stop laughing. Here is some advice for how to accomplish price-fixing, which we have learned here in US v. Apple et al (PDF), the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice against ebook sellers for conspiracy to fix prices with Apple, so as to undermine Amazon. (Fun fact: the defendants in the case account for a full half of Amazon's ebook revenue.)

"Double-deletion" of email is the apparently common practice of deleting an email in your inbox, then deleting it again in your trash. It also largely doesn't work.

Also, "pro tip": it really helps if you don't keep emails about double-deleting your emails in each others' inboxes.

In any event, a number of the defendants have already settled, and I look forward to receiving refunds on all the ebooks I bought from them through Apple for $14.99. Oh right, I didn't buy any of them. Because I generally don't pay more for things than I have to, because, capitalism/selfishness.

12 Comments / Post A Comment

katherine (#10,025)

And let's not get started on the Chats folder.

Also, umm, they could still be in the inbox of the person you sent the emails to/received the emails from. So… quadruple-delete?

laurel (#4,035)

@ReginalTSquirge And also maybe there's part of the thread still in your sent mail?

laurel (#4,035)

@laurel Hey, what happened to comment editability?

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@laurel This is a good question.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@boyofdestiny Yeah, you mean I need have to get it rite the frist tyme?

whizz_dumb (#10,650)


Leon Tchotchke (#14,331)

I'm really excited for all the articles in publishing industry rags breathlessly explaining how there are SO MANY unseen EXPENSES in making an ebook that justify the high price (like having to pay one intern $9/hr to turn Word files into different ebook formats and put them on OverDrive).

jfruh (#713)

@Leon Tchotchke Or maybe the explanation is that the bulk of the price of a book is not in its physical material but in the costs of intellectual labor producing it (writing, editing, promoting)? I mean, I don't know one way or another, but it could be!

deepomega (#1,720)

@jfruh There's this:

(Hope it works since editing doesn't!)

But, of course, some of the costs here are overhead eliminated by ebooks as well.

deepomega (#1,720)

@deepomega So, yeah, warehousing and printing just get taken out entirely. Probably trim down the wholesaler/bookshop/retail margins, too, since Amazon takes 30% of the ebook price. Design and typesetting isn't currently a Thing in ebooks, but it SHOULD BE, so leave that in. Impacts on overhead, rent, salaried staff, etc. should be marginal, as should royalties. So, back of the envelope, we're looking at something around 30-40% trimmed?

jfruh (#713)

@deepomega This is definitely an intriguing chart! Though I'm not sure why the numbers add up to $40? Is there such a thing as a $40 book?

But anyhoo, assuming the percentages are right, printing (which I'm assuming means everything associated with the physical production of the book) is only 10% of the costs, and warehousing and delivery (which I'm assuming is everything involving getting books from the publisher to the people who sell them) is another 9.75%. I assume "bookshop/wholesaler/retail chain" is the entire cut that everyone downstream from the publisher gets, and it comes out to 40%. Assuming that you can just entirely swap in Amazon (or whoever) for this entire slice of the pie, and that 30% is the new industry standard as set now and forever by Amazon and Apple, that gets you another 10 percentage points. Which adds up to just under 30% cheaper eBooks.

Of course, this assumes that capitalism operates in the sense of "Hey, I have found a cheaper/more efficient way to produce this thing I sell you, here, let me pass the entirety of those savings onto you," which in my experience it does not? I mean, I realize this is all in the context of a price-fixing scheme which makes that even less likely to happen, but even so, my understanding is that companies will do their best to use efficiencies to boost those profit margins (currently at 2.875, yikes!) rather than making things as cheap as possible.

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