If you follow the book biz, you may already know that the Justice Department is threatening to sue Apple and five book publishers over their business practices, forcing them to go along with Amazon.com's effforts to set book prices.
In theory, I ought to support the Justice Department's strong arm tactics, since I'm a cheapskate and I like inexpensive books. I got a Kindle for Christmas, and I've already filled it with about two dozen books. Many only cost me about $1.
But as my experience shows, Amazon.com doesn't need much help. As everyone knows — except, apparently, Barack Obama's attorney general — Amazon is close to achieving almost total dominance of the book world. It's already succeeded in putting Borders out of business, and Barnes and Noble is struggling to survive.
I don't like $15 ebooks, either, but my approach is a little different from Eric Holder's: With very rare exceptions, I just won't buy them.
If the Obama administration is looking for other useless lawsuits to file at taxpayer expense, I have a couple of suggestions. This week, the Justice Department should file a lawsuit demanding that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get their fair share of publicity. Next week, Justice should sue Major League Baseball and insist that the New York Yankees finally get an opportunity to field a competitive team.
UPDATE: On Facebook, Jeffrey Quick writes, "In theory, I ought to support the Justice Department's" In theory of course, you should do no such thing, as you aren't generally extorting values from others.
Jeffrey makes a good point. I DON'T support the theory behind the Justice Department's case. I probably should have written, "Some might think I ought to support the Justice Department's strong arm tactics, since ... "