Monday, 23 December 2013

The Digital Reader

The Digital Reader

Bob Kohn Appeals Macmillan, Penguin eBook Settlements – Could he be a Cats-Paw for the Publishers?

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 07:13 PM PST

Never onebob1[1] to take NO for an answer, RoyaltyShare founder Bob Kohn filed an appeal today over the recently approved settlement agreements between Macmillan and Penguin and the DOJ.

It seems that Mr. Kohn wasn’t satisfied when Judge Denise Cote ignored his amicus curae pre-trial filing in September 2012, and he wasn’t satisfied when the judge shot him down when he made the same arguments in a post-trial session last month, becasue he was back _again_ last week with a new filing that made the same old arguments.

This time around it’s an appeal filing, and not the 5 page comic which Mr. kohn filed in September of last year.

If you’re just tuning in, for the past 15 months Bob Kohn has been arguing that the publishers and Apple didn’t break the Sherman Anti-Trust law when they conspired in late 2009 to raise ebook prices and force Amazon to let the publishers set the retail price.

Instead, what they did was completely legal because they were collectively responding to Amazon’s supposed violations of anti-trust law: to wit, the alleged predatory pricing which everyone has assumed occurred before agency pricing.

Yes, it’s the old “two wrongs make a right” argument. There is some legal basis for this argument in anti-trust law, but in order to make the argument you also have to present evidence to support it, and Bob Kohn ain’t got none.

Mr. Kohn is claiming that the alleged predatory pricing was an anti-trust violation. But since he has no evidence of predatory pricing and since the publishers have no evidence (they certainly didn’t present any at trial) to show the same, Mr. Kohn has been pestering the judge to force the DOJ to reveal the results of their investigation into Amazon’s pre-agency pricing.

Twice he has pestered the judge on this topic, and he’s been shot down twice so far. How much do you want to bet that he will be shot down a third time?

I would say the odds are pretty good, but then again this is the type of issue which could overturn the case on appeal. It’s entirely possible that an appeal court judge might rule that Judge Cote should have considered this point.

But I also do not think that appeal has a good chance of being accepted.  The original complaint (aka indictment) filed by the DOJ said that Amazon’s ebook operation was consistently profitable, and Judge Cote reiterated that statement in the September 2012 ruling (PDF) which signed off on the settlement agreement between the DOJ and S&S, Hachette, HarperCollins:

Even though the $9.99 retail price point was close to the wholesale price at which Amazon purchased many e-books, the Complaint alleges that Amazon's e-books business was "consistently profitable." In order to compete with Amazon, other e-books retailers also adopted a $9.99 retail price for many titles.

Also, I would have you note that Bob Kohn is arguing this point in defense of 5 publishers who _settled_ rather than try to make this argument themselves. That includes Macmillan, which settled while still claiming that they had done nothing wrong.  If Macmillan had the evidence to support Kohn’s argument don’t you think they would have gone to trial and defended themselves?

And that’s not all. I would like to remind you that the original indictment against Apple and the 5 publishers was filed by the US Dept of Justice in cooperation with over 40 state’s attorneys general. Do you really think that all of the hundreds of lawyers involved simply forgot to consider the points which Bob Kohn has raised repeatedly?

And that’s not even the best part. Mr. Kohn is not in any way involved with the 5 publishers in question, so he has literally no legal basis to file an appeal. But never mind that, he argues that if he is not given standing to appeal, the settlements will not face any appeal scrutiny at all on behalf of consumers.

Funny, I thought that the DOJ and state’s attorneys general were acting on behalf of the consumers/public?

I don’t know about you but at this point I have to wonder exactly why Bob Kohn is continuing to beat this dead horse. I suspect that he is being egged on by one or more of the 5 publishers. they cannot be seen to pursue this argument themselves but I am sure they would be happy if Kohn succeeded.


The post Bob Kohn Appeals Macmillan, Penguin eBook Settlements – Could he be a Cats-Paw for the Publishers? appeared first on The Digital Reader.

5 Apps You Should Install on Your New Budget Android Tablet

Posted: 23 Dec 2013 07:31 AM PST

In the 3mobile-product-icons-pdp-android[1] plus years that I have been reviewing, writing about, and using tablets they have gotten faster, cheaper, and better (and over this past year more and more have Google Play), but even after all this time there is still at least one thing that hasn’t changed.

Tablet makers are still shipping tablets without all of the apps you need. Sure, Google is making sure that the newer budget tablets ship with all of Google’s apps (including Gmail and Google Play Books), but that’s just the beginning.

As I have been reviewing tablets over the past few months I have been noting exactly what the average tablet lacks. Here’s my list of the top 5 shortcomings.

File Manager

First up is a file manager app. This is what you’ll need in order to find the stuff you downloaded last week or the files you just copied on to your Android device, etc. I recommend ES File Explorer. Thus might not be the best file manager app but it is simple, works well, and runs on just about everything.

Media Player

Next, you should get a media player (In fact, i think you should get 2). Sure, all budget tablets come with the basic gallery app, which can play videos, but it is a terribly basic app. Luckily you installed a better app with ES File Explorer, but if you want an even more capable app you could try BSPlayer. I have not used it much myself but LifeHacker thinks it is great.

And the other media player I recommend is Tubemate. This lets you download Youtube videos so they can be watched offline.


And now that you have a video player, it’s time to turn your attention to ebooks. While most new Android devices now ship with Google Play Books, that app won’t actually let you read Epub or Kindle format ebooks which you might find on (legit) free ebook sites without jumping through a couple hoops.

For that you will need an app like Moon+ Reader or Aldiko. And if you have a Kindle Fire Android tablet, I would get one app or the other anyway. Use your KF tablet long enough and you’ll find that Amazon doesn’t make it easy for you to read content that you don’t buy from them.

Power Management

And now that you can find your content on your Android device and read/play it, it’s time to make sure that your battery doesn’t konk out on you at the wrong time. And that means you’ll need some type of power management app. I have tried several apps, and I have found that Deep Sleep Battery Saver works great at extending the battery life of my budget tablets.

BTW, if you have a Kindle Fire tablet then this is an app you can skip. You won’t need it, honest, because this app mainly controls battery drain when the tablet is asleep. Kindle Fire tablets don’t have that problem.

And if you want to control battery drain while the tablet is in use, I would recommend getting used to turning the Wifi off when not in use and turning  the backlight down. I believe in actively controlling power usage when using a tablet, not letting the tablet control it for me. This makes me more aware of the battery usage, which keeps me from forgetting to charge it.

While we’re on the topic of setting up an Android tablet, you might also be interested in the getting started posts I wrote in past years. They are rather out of date now, but they could still be useful. I wrote these posts with then-current tablets in mind. Now that I think about it, many of those tablets are still on the market so these posts are still useful.

Getting Start With an Android Tablet (2010)

  • This was written for the really basic Android tablets which shipped in 2010; many lacked basic apps like a file manager.

Tablet Gift Guide – 2011 Edition

  • This post was written based on a tablet I gave away for Christmas 2011. It’s more focused on what I did before giving away the tablet, but it should still be useful for a new tablet owner.

How to Read a PDF on Android

  • Back in 2010 something as basic as finding a PDF app for an Android tablet was not easy, so I put this post together to help point people in the right direction. Now I would simply suggest downloading Adobe Reader from Google Play.

These next 3 posts cover the steps I took to turn the Kindle Fire tablets from Amazon’s media tablet into a more useful Android tablet. Thanks to the Google apps, this is now one of the tablets I keep on my desk as a work tool.

The post 5 Apps You Should Install on Your New Budget Android Tablet appeared first on The Digital Reader.

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