The DOJ-Apple lawsuit seems fair to consumers who would gain $2-3 for every e-book they allegedly over-paid for. This $2-3 was more than the Amazon's wretched $9.99 price which is supposed to have squeezed the margins of publishers. These publishers are then alleged to have teamed up with Apple and in doing so forced Amazon to raise prices as the video alongside suggests. But where are the authors in all of this?
Publishers are like agents or distributors of the author's work. Some publishers work harder to make a book a success and some others do not- just like distributors in every other field. Publishers add unique value to authors because they are able to monetize content for its own sake. Keep in mind that otherwise the only direct way to monetize digital content for the content creator is through advertising.
Thus disintermediation of publishers is not exactly like removing the neighborhood travel agent who has all but disappeared with the onslaught of travel sites like Expedia and Travelocity. Why ? because unlike airlines or hotels who just have to upload the available rooms or seats into a database – any creative marketable content needs the support,guidance and hand holding by a publisher who has the rest of the supply chain organized to monetize the content that authors come up with. A bit like the movie producer who gets everything together to produce a movie. The movie producer takes the risk with obviously no guarantee of the size of the paying audience at the theatre or via Netflix. If you removed the movie producer actors,directors or camera-persons would have a hard time coming up with the finished ready for the theatre movie. The same with books.
One might argue that singers and musicians can find small niche markets via iTunes and monetize their creativity and perhaps books will go the same way. Depends whether you consider a book closer to a movie that needs a producer or publisher to help develop for the market. Or you consider a book closer to song that can be put straight to the digital market without a whole lot of market or product planning.
Either way the publishing industry needs to re-look at its value proposition in the digital age, given that we are talking about the retailers Apple and Amazon and their consumer prices. Contact StratoServe.