Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
Buying eBooks via iBook is validating Apple and the Agency model.
And I should care about this...why, exactly?
Originally, eBooks were sold using a wholesale model, just like a physical book. The eBook was sold from the publisher to the story at a discounted wholesale rate, and the store sold the eBook to the consumer for whatever price they damned well pleased. If they wanted to boost the price and make more profit per copy, they could. If they wanted to lower the price to the point that they were talking a loss to drive sales, that's fine, too.
Under the agency model, the publisher is selling directly to the consumer, and the store is the agent who facilitates the transaction, like how one person selling a house to another works through a real estate agent. The agent (in this case, Apple) gets a percentage commission of the sale price. This means that the retailer no longer has any discretion in how they price the title. They sell it for whatever the publisher tells them to sell it for.
I'll let JWolf
explain why this is a problem.