Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Services, Eddy Cue bluntly commented on the iBooks pricing model and its legal quagmire, saying "We can't treat newspapers or magazines any differently than we treat FarmVille." Apple has recently been charged with colluding with publishers over pricing, sticking to an agency model whereby the publisher gets to set the prices rather than the retailer. This is in contrast to Amazon, which has taken the reins of pricing so they can undercut everybody else, even if means taking a loss so long as they can be number one and recoup through other purchases. Apple claims they're aiming to bust up Amazon's monopoly on e-books, but the Department of Justice isn't so sure and is moving ahead with their investigation.
Cue's commentary on the situation is certainly apt; why up-end their established fee structure for electronic goods just because these ones happen to be books rather than apps? That doesn't necessarily mean that the publishers didn't have their own conversations, but at first glance it doesn't seem like Apple was doing anything particularly wrong here.
Of course, we'll see how the trial pans out and what new evidence comes to light. In the end, iBooks isn't hugely popular, and I can't imagine it will be a massive blow if Apple is forced to change their model around a little bit. How do you guys feel about iBooks pricing? Are you willing to pay close to what a real copy costs, or should electronic versions be cheaper?