In continued updating on the ebook price-fixing lawsuit, three of the companies have agreed to settle, and their settlements have been accepted by the DOJ. Although the NYT is a nice short bite, a better assessment can be found here at Techdirt.
It should be very interesting when Penguin Group USA, Macmillian, and Apple go to trial next summer for the suit. I don't know how they possibly think they can win, given the DOJ doesn't bring up a suit unless they have irrevocable evidence to support their accusation. The DOJ literally cannot afford to do so otherwise.
Unsurprisingly, Publisher's Weekly has called this settlement acceptance stunning. I suspect it's only stunning to those who are so into the traditional publishing koolaid that they forget the person being jerked around by price fixing are the very consumers who aren't willing to pay $12.99 for a book. I've had countless friends of mine (readers, not writers) complain about the ebook prices soaring. And they're quite happy about the change.
I don't know why people forget that less cost means more books purchased, but it's the basis for why so many cheaply priced books get picked up over higher priced books. Readers don't care who published the book. They don't care if the author is an award winner or a first time novelist (at least, it's not their first basis for picking a book). They pick a book up based on recommendations first and foremost - friends first, reviews next. Then we start getting into such things as marketing and other cold-call tactics.
Marketing does have its place, it's just not as much of a place as a friend saying "Hey, read this book!"
And in the end, that is what writers need to keep in mind. Their ultimate market is readers. Not publishers, not other authors, but readers. It is with them, the consumers of our books, that we must take careful control over our own stories. They're our products.