Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Lost Art of Wet Shaving

Note: It looks like Chisel Shave Club went out of business (as far as I can tell), so I'll remove the links that go nowhere but leave my review intact.



Following my review of the Mach 3 vs. Dollar Shave Club razors, I was contacted by Chisel Shave Club, a company offering a monthly subscription service for wet shave products. They asked if I'd like to try out one of their boxes for free and I said sure. They sent me a box of shaving supplies in early January and it here's what it contained:



They included a list of steps on how to wet shave on the back of the welcome letter. I decided I would check Youtube for a how-to video before I attempted any of this, even though the instructions seemed pretty straight forward. I found a video of a Scottish guy that teaches you how to wet shave. You can check that out here.

The Razor
With wet shaving, you unscrew the top of the safety razor and place a blade in the middle before screwing it back on. Here's what the razor and blades from Chisel Shave Club look like:


I tried the Astra blade and carefully followed the steps in the Youtube video and on the back of the Chisel Shave Club card before attempting to shave my head. I've read that these blades can last 4-6 shaves, but that's probably for beards. I have enough razors that I'll replace these more often than that, as shaving your head is a lot more involved than shaving your beard.

Wet Shave
I used the Dr. Squatch Cedar Citrus Soap Bar in a bowl and worked it into a lather. Then I used the shaving brush from the Chisel Shave Club box to apply it to my head (your head should be wet before you do this). When compared to shaving with my electric razor or Dollar Shave Club razor, here's what I found:

1. Wet shaving takes longer. I knew this going in. It took me almost twice as long, but that's probably because it was my first time and I didn't really know what I was doing, even after the Scottish dude explained it to me in the Youtube video.

2. Wet shaving gets a closer shave. It may take more time, but wet shaving resulted in a closer shave with less irritation than I usually get from my Dollar Shave Club Executive blades or my electric razor.

3. Wet shaving eliminates hair getting caught in between razor blades. The Dollar Shave Club Executive blade with 6x razors clogs pretty easily and I've noted that I have to hit it against the side of the sink. While I occasionally had to clean the safety razor while shaving, that part is much easier and quicker than clearing out clogs in my regular razor blades.

After Shave
I used the Brickell Instant Relief Aftershave included in the Chisel Shave Club box. It smells like a combo of coconut and mint and cooled my head. Good stuff.

Pricing
I asked their press team for a pricing structure for their subscription box and here's what they told me:

We currently offer a month to month subscription for $29.99/mo with the option to add on a safety razor handle and shaving brush to the first month’s box for an additional cost. We also offer:

A 3 month prepaid plan for $28.99/mo
A 6 month prepaid plan for $27.99/mo that comes with a free safety razor handle and shaving brush in the first box.
A 1 year prepaid plan for $26.99/mo that comes with a free safety razor handle and shaving brush in the first box.

If you'd like to try Chisel Shave Club, you can get 10% off by using coupon code RANDALLM10
at checkout.

Conclusion

I'll need a few more shaves to say anything definitively but I did enjoy trying this out. I'm going to try it again next week and I imagine it will take a lot less time. The soaps and after shave smell great. I'd say try it out for a month and see what you think.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Book Sales Breakdown 2015

I still enjoy adding up how many copies each of my books has sold at the end of the year. Since there's a three day weekend coming up and I'm almost done with my homework, I decided I would get this blog post ready to go. My goal for 2015 was originally set at 800 book sales. I met that at some point in October or November. I increased the goal to 1,000 at that point. I missed 1,000 sales but not by much. Like my 2014 breakdown, I'm going to break down my sales from most sold to least sold and all of the cover images are linked to the Amazon page for that book if you want to check anything out or purchase a copy. When I list a current price, that is the price of the ebook (and generally the price that the book sold at for all of 2015). Total sold is the number of books sold of that title since it was published.




Ebook Sales: 303
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 2
Current Price: $4.99
Books Sold 2015: 305
Total Sold: 305




Middle Demons is my first book to break 300 sales. It was also one of the only books I released in 2015. I actually finished writing it during a three week break in between law school semesters. It sold a lot of copies when it was first released and then spiked again during the early summer. This book continues where Minor Demons left off and sets the stage for Major Demons, which I'm working on right now. I hope to release Major Demons at some point in 2016.



Ebook Sales: 229
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 3
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 232
Total Sold: 283




Minor Demons is now my third book to break 200 sales and will likely be the second to break 300. I did have it free for a while and gave away around 4,000 copies with a couple of ads. I'm thinking about taking it back to free to boost sales of Middle Demons. I was hoping to have Major Demons out sooner, but law school got in the way again. The nice thing about Minor Demons having a price tag was that it got to ride the wave when Middle Demons was first launched and spiked in the summer. I get more emails and messages from readers telling me how much they enjoyed Minor Demons than any other book I've written so far. That's always good to hear about the first book in the series you're writing.



Ebook Sales: 45
Audio Book Sales: 8
Paperback Sales: 25
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 78
Total Sold: 115




My article on Luther Standing Bear joins the ranks of my books that have sold more than 100 copies. I honestly don't know how many are at that point anymore. Luther Standing Bear had uncharacteristically high sales this year and I think it came from the fact that new editions of Luther Standing Bear's books were released or republished. My article appears in the also-bought section on pretty much all of them, which drove traffic to my shorter, less expensive article. Luther Standing Bear also came in first for paperback sales (though it didn't make the most money of any paperback, it just sold the most copies).



Ebook Sales: 29
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 17
Current Price: $3.99
Books Sold 2015: 46
Total Sold: 46




Traveling the Caribbean was one of the few books I released in 2015. It has pictures and brief histories for all the historical and interesting locations we visited in Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados. It includes the remains of forts, plantations, windmills, ship dockyards, and a shipwreck as seen from a submarine. Definitely worth checking out. It ended up selling the third most paperback copies and it's doing really well so far this year as well.



Ebook Sales: 18
Audio Book Sales: 19
Paperback Sales: 7
Current Price: $0.99
Books Sold 2015: 43
Total Sold: 159




These seven short stories from my days as a computer tech were written for an eight hour writing challenge. The collection also ended up selling the most copies of any of my books in 2014, due in large part to its audio book sales. It ended up selling the most audio books in 2015 as well, but that wasn't a whole lot. I didn't release any new audio books in 2015. With the change in the contract terms ACX threw at authors and narrators, it just isn't worth the time to do royalty splits anymore and I don't have the money to front any new ones. All that being said, Horror Stories still came in at fifth place and sold a respectable amount. The cover was created by me with a pencil, paper, scanner, and MS Paint (because I only had eight hours to finish the whole thing). It's a terrible cover. I'm not sure why it keeps selling, but the fact that it does still amuses me.



Ebook Sales: 21
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 20
Current Price: $3.99
Books Sold 2015: 41
Total Sold: 103




Traveling the U.S.: East Coast History is the longest in my World Travels series and it has the most pictures. It came in second place overall in 2014 and just sold its 100th copy not too long ago. It also came in second this year for most paperbacks sold (and it made me the most money of any paperback). It covers a lot of cool stuff, including the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery, Mount Vernon, Monitcello, Jamestown (with excavation photos), Gettysburg, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, and more. It was one of the coolest vacations ever and I loved putting the book together when we got back.



Ebook Sales: 21
Audio Book Sales: 3
Paperback Sales: 4
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 28
Total Sold: 68




Gateway to the Vikings sold 20 copies a year for the first two years it was available. This year, I removed it from being an Amazon exclusive and sold some copies at Barnes and Noble and Apple, bringing it up to 28 copies sold this year. I researched L'Anse aux Meadows, the North American Viking settlement, for a Scandinavian history class when I was still getting my undergraduate degree in history. We're planning on actually visiting there this year and a travel photo book will likely follow shortly afterwards.



Ebook Sales: 15
Audio Book Sales: 7
Paperback Sales: 4
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 26
Total Sold: 237




My article on Constantine will always be awesome, even as it fades in sales over time. It was my first book to sell 100 copies and my first book to sell 200 copies. It also was my best selling book in 2012 and 2013. It's a modified version of my senior thesis that I wrote for my history degree. It goes into the empire Constantine established that balanced the rights of pagans and the emerging religion of Christianity. It also looks into trends after Constantine died. If they kept the empire tolerant, the empire prospered. If an emperor leaned to heavily towards favoring Christians (Theodosius) or pagans (Julian) then the empire erupted in civil war. It really is a great read for the price and will be an interesting article for anyone who enjoys looking into the Roman and Byzantine empires.



Ebook Sales: 12
Audio Book Sales: 2
Paperback Sales: 10
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 24
Total Sold: 129




I wrote Explanations and Advice for the Tech Illiterate in 2012 when computer clients asked about a book that would help them learn the basics and I didn't know of a good one. This short guide gives a basic understanding of home theater audio and video, audio and video cables, computer viruses, email security, encryption and passwords, backing up your data, and computer speed / startup items. It's also a member of the 100+ sales club. I wrote the final book in the Tech Illiterate series earlier this year and I love the reviews I get on all three of these books. I'm really glad they're helping people.



Ebook Sales: 8
Audio Book Sales: 9
Paperback Sales: 5
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 22
Total Sold: 136




Caribbean Piracy: Pirates and Privateers is another article I wrote during my undergrad days. It explores the government-like structure set up by the Caribbean pirates (and privateers) of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It goes really well with my travel photo book of the Caribbean. Like my article on Constantine, sales have fallen, but it's still a member of the 100+ copies sold club. I picked up the shark tooth knife and monkey mask on the cover in Hawaii. The dagger is a spear head dagger I had custom made the last time I was in the Philippines.



Ebook Sales: 14
Audio Book Sales: 3
Paperback Sales: 0
Current Price: $0.99
Books Sold 2015: 17
Total Sold: 30




Geek of Legend: The Goblin Anti-Virus is the second book in my Geek of Legend short story series. These short stories follow Robert as he fixes broken computers and technology in a world of dwarves, trolls, goblins, elves, and talking horses. In this story, Robert is sent in to kill a virus that the goblin anti-virus company created to drum up business for themselves. More geeky troll riddles. More fun with a mixture of tech from our world and creatures from another. My sister actually drew the goblin on the cover. I would love to write more of these, but they'll need to sell more copies before I can justify the time to do that. They're very funny and entertaining if you have a dollar to spare for a copy.



Ebook Sales: 13
Audio Book Sales: 3
Paperback Sales: 1
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 17
Total Sold: 57




This article actually tied The Goblin Anti-Virus for sales in 2015, so I just went alphabetically. This is another article from my history undergrad days. It follows the use of Archangels and other intercessory beings in the Book of Tobit, the story of Joseph and Aseneth, the Book of Daniel, the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, and the appearances of the Archangel Gabriel in the New Testament. It's not comprehensive coverage of the subject, but its still worth a read if you're interested in that kind of stuff.



Ebook Sales: 12
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 4
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 16
Total Sold: 75




I renamed Jehovah and Hades: Books 1-3 to go with Modern Day Jekyll & Hyde: Books 1-3, because that's less confusing. It follows the last known descendants of Dr. Jekyll from Stevenson's Jekyll & Hyde. This collection has three short stories I wrote in 2012 when I was just starting out as a self-published author. The cover is new; I had it made in 2015 to try to increase sales. It's slowly making its way to 100 sales. I would love for it to make it there this year.



Ebook Sales: 5
Audio Book Sales: 1
Paperback Sales: 6
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 12
Total Sold: 46




I wrote the second volume in my Tech Illiterate series in 2014 after some positive reviews on the first book in the series. This one covers what to look for when buying a new computer, things to remember when you upgrade your computer, operating systems, a general technology rule I call "the weakest link," wireless and networks, streaming and streaming devices, ultra HD and 4K TV, and internet browsers. It's roughly the same length as the first one. If the first one helped you, this one should, too.



Ebook Sales: 4
Audio Book Sales: 6
Paperback Sales: 1
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 11
Total Sold: 50




The Mormon Theocracy is a collection of two short articles I wrote while getting my history degree. One goes over the theocracy that existed in the early Utah territory that the Mormons created. The other article looks into the philosophies of Gregory Palamas of the Eastern Orthodox church. I actually made a mistake when I made this an Amazon exclusive, because it was selling pretty well at other ebook retailers. I should have left it alone. It is now available again at Barnes and Noble, Apple, and elsewhere, but it hasn't recovered.



Ebook Sales: 8
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 2
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 10
Total Sold: 26




Traveling the U.S.: Utah includes photos and brief histories from historical locations around Salt Lake City. I probably should have named it to reflect that, but I also got pictures from a railroad town called Echo and Park City. It's a fun read and has some beautiful pictures. It's worth checking out if you'd like to know a little more about the historical sites of Salt Lake.



Ebook Sales: 7
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 2
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 9
Total Sold: 37




Traveling Asia: The Philippines was the first travel photo book I wrote. This one is a little different than the others, because I lived in the Philippines for two years and speak fluent Tagalog. I included some of the local animals, historic sites, and some Tagalog words. It was fun to write and has some beautiful pictures of the Banaue rice terraces plus some helpful info if you ever plan on traveling to the Philippines.



Ebook Sales: 4
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 5
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 9
Total Sold: 25




Traveling the U.S.: San Diego is one of my most picture-heavy travel photo books. We visited the San Diego zoo, the San Diego Safari Park, Sea World, Cabrillo National Monument, Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and the USS Midway. There are a lot of great shots of animals from the zoo, safari park, and Sea World. This is the only book in my World Travel series that still doesn't have any reviews. I hope that changes this year.



Ebook Sales: 8
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 0
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 8
Total Sold: 8




Explanations and Advice for the Tech Illiterate Volume III is the last book in my Tech Illiterate series. I started it a while back and finished it up in 2015. At this point, I don't have the time to focus on keeping all of these evolving with the times, so I stuck to general themes that would be helpful to any beginner. Volume III goes a little more into dealing with current technology trends, but also has some more basics. It covers digital camera basics, surge protectors and clean power filters, wireless charging and solar power, smart watches, self-driving and electric cars, smart home and home automation, plus a few additional articles. If you have the first two, this is a must buy. I need to add links at the ends of the other two so people know this is available now. I haven't found time to do that yet.



Ebook Sales: 4
Free Copies: 115
Audio Book Sales: 2
Paperback Sales: 2
Current Price: Free
Books Sold 2015: 8
Total Sold: 44



Geek of Legend: The Elvish Screwdriver is the first in the short series under my pen name that I mentioned above. It was free for part of the year and $0.99 for part of the year. I've decided to just leave it as a freebie to get people reading the series. This one has the first three geeky riddles I thought up for short stories, so grab a free copy and see if you can solve them before Robert does.



Ebook Sales: 5
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 3
Current Price: $3.99
Books Sold 2015: 8
Total Sold: 30




This book in my World Travel series covers some great history from Tokyo, Taipei, and Hong Kong. Three large Asian cities in three different countries. I got photos and provided brief histories of the following sites:
Tokyo: Temple of the 47 Ronin, both Tokyo towers, a Shinto temple, a Buddhist temple, shots from around Tokyo
Hong Kong: the Men Mo temple, the fishing village, major corporate buildings, shots from around Hong Kong
Taipei: Taipei 101 (2nd tallest building in the world), shots of Taipei while at one of the Taipei night markets



Ebook Sales: 1
Free Copies: 732
Audio Book Sales: 5
Paperback Sales: N/A
Current Price: Free
Books Sold 2015: 6
Total Sold: 34



The Journals of Jacob and Hyde was my second self-published short story and the prequel to Jehovah and Hades. It has been a free ebook for most of the time since 2012. In that time, I've given away somewhere around 10,000 copies. It's also available as a really cool audio book with multiple narrators doing character voices. It's a good read and there's no reason not to grab a free copy.



Ebook Sales: 4
Audio Book Sales: 1
Paperback Sales: 0
Current Price: $1.99
Books Sold 2015: 5
Total Sold: 43




Jehovah and Hades was the first short story I self-published way back in early 2012. It follows a computer hacker and his brother, an assassin, as they take on a corrupt mayor over in the Philippines. It still sports the cover Doug Beckstead made for me. This is where it all started. I sold 4 copies at $0.99 the day this was published. That's when I decided that maybe I could get somewhere with e-books. Jehovah and Hades is around 4 years old now, but it's still a fun story. Check it out.



Ebook Sales: 3
Audio Book Sales: 1
Paperback Sales: N/A
Current Price: $1.99
Books Sold 2015: 4
Total Sold: 22




Jehovah and Hades: Federal case is an add-on short story that comes after Jehovah and Hades and is also included in the three book collection. It's a fun short story and I definitely recommend it if you enjoyed the first two stories.



Ebook Sales: 1
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: N/A
Current Price: $9.99
Books Sold 2015: 1
Total Sold: 8




I'm still thinking about what to do with this collection. It has all of my history articles except for the two in The Mormon Theocracy. It needs a new cover. I've thought about making a paperback version and a hardcover version. Ultimately, it just falls really low on my to-do list and I've left it up because it sold a copy last year at $9.99. Maybe I'll do something with it in 2016. Maybe I'll continue to ignore it. Only time will tell. (Note: I gave this book a new cover and I'm going to run some ads on it. We'll see what happens.)



Ebook Sales: 0
Audio Book Sales: N/A
Paperback Sales: 0
Current Price: $2.99
Books Sold 2015: 0
Total Sold: 25




This just makes me sad. Traveling the U.S.: Hawaii sold 14 copies in 2014. It was my only book to not sell anything in 2015. No ebooks. No paperbacks. That's a wolphin on the cover. A whale-dolphin hybrid. Someone should have bought a copy simply because that's cool as hell that wolphins exist and I got a picture of one flipping out of the water. So here's my real goal for 2016. This book needs to sell a copy. At least one. I don't like any of my books going an entire year with no sales. Someone just go buy a copy now so this won't be a sad story again in 2016. It's got awesome pictures. Over 60 pictures of: Sea Life Park (Oahu), USS Arizona Memorial (Pearl Harbor), Hanauma Bay (Oahu), the Polynesian Cultural Center (Laie), and a nature hike (Oahu). So check it out. The wolphin on the cover is crying right now. He'll stop as soon as someone buys a copy. Shameless self-promotion. I know. Have a heart and help me out anyways. :-P (Note: As of 1/18/16, at least one person has purchased a paperback copy and an ebook copy of this book. The wolphin has stopped crying. Thank you to whoever I guilted into purchasing this. I promise it has cool pictures and interesting info.)


So there we go. Another year completed and another year of sales trending up overall. I didn't include sales from any anthologies or collections that I contributed a story to, because I don't have those numbers.Here's the total breakdown of the past four years:

2012 Books Sold: 157 (156 ebooks, 1 paperback)
2013 Books Sold: 372 (222 ebooks, 139 audio books, 11 paperbacks)
2014 Books Sold: 636 (404 ebooks, 160 audio books, 72 paperbacks)
2015 Books Sold: 998 (805 ebooks, 70 audio books, 123 paperbacks)

That puts me at 2,163 books sold since I started in 2012. I still think that's ridiculously cool. 41 of my ebook sales came from non-Amazon retailers this year. My non-fiction stuff is now available at Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, and other places. I'm planning on keeping them out of Kindle Unlimited, because the payout is way too low for non-fiction. I'm also planning on releasing at least the following in 2016:

- Major Demons
- A travel photo book of Boston and L'Anse aux Meadows

I might throw in a Geek of Legend short story if those start selling a few more copies. Major Demons is currently at 46,500 words and it will end at around 70,000 words. I hope to write some more in March when I have a week off from law school and then take it up again over the summer. For all the readers who are patiently waiting, thank you for being patient. You can help me out a ton by leaving reviews on anything of mine that you've read. The more books I sell, the more time I dedicate to writing when I have free time. Reviews help me sell more books. My goal for 2016 is 1,250 books sold. I can pull that off if Major Demons takes off running right out of the gate. I hope it will. If it follows the trend set by Middle Demons, I should have no problem. Thanks for reading and good luck to everyone in 2016!

You can see my book sales breakdown for 2014 here and the breakdown for 2013 here.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Amazon Books and the Robinson-Patman Act from an Antitrust Law Perspective

Following my most recent antitrust article looking into the Authors United Amicus Brief (which you can read here), I was contacted for my thoughts concerning Amazon's new book store and the Robinson-Patman Act. For some background and thoughts on this subject, you can check out this article from The Digital Reader. The article links to other articles about two cases related to booksellers and the Robinson-Patman Act. The first case was AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASS'N v. RANDOM HOUSE. I didn't link to that one and I won't be analyzing it because it isn't publicly available. I want everyone to be able to read the court opinion when I talk about a case. AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASS'N v. RANDOM HOUSE ended in a settlement, so the court didn't fully reach the merits of the claim anyways. The second case was AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASS'N v. BARNES & NOBLE, INC.. I would like to take some time to look at the court's opinion in this case so we can see what requirements the ABA will have to meet to win in a lawsuit against Amazon (arguing that Amazon is violating the Robinson-Patman Act with their new bookstore, Amazon Books, in Seattle). Unless I note otherwise, everything I quote comes from that link. I would provide more specific, targeted links if I could link to particular sections of the court opinion, but I don't know how to do that. Let me start by reminding everyone that I am not a lawyer and nothing I say on my blog is legal advice.




Let's start by noting the parties in this case. The district court judge sums it up nicely. "In this antitrust action brought by the American Booksellers Association on behalf of all California members ("ABA") and twenty-seven independent bookstores against various defendants associated with Barnes & Noble, Inc. ("the Barnes & Noble defendants") and Borders Group, Inc. ("the Borders defendants"), three motions are currently before the Court." Put simply, the ABA joined with 27 independent bookstores to sue Barnes & Noble and Borders for violating the Robinson-Patman Act.

In this case, the ABA and independent bookstores allege that Barnes & Noble and Borders were receiving discounts and other favorable terms from Ingram. The judge notes under Section (II)(A) of his opinion that "[u]nder the Robinson-Patman Act, it is 'unlawful for any person engaged in commerce, ... either directly or indirectly, to discriminate in price between different purchasers of commodities of like grade and quality, ... where the effect of such discrimination may be substantially to lessen competition or tend to create a monopoly in any line of commerce, or to injure, destroy, or prevent competition with any person who either grants or knowingly receives the benefit of such discrimination, or with customers of either of them[.]' 15 U.S.C. § 13(a) (Robinson-Patman Act § 2(a))." Additionally, "'[i]t shall be unlawful for any person engaged in commerce, in the course of such commerce, knowingly to induce or receive a discrimination in price which is prohibited by this section.' 15 U.S.C. 13(f) (Robinson-Patman Act § 2(f))."

In simpler terms, a buyer cannot knowingly induce a seller to give them better terms or better prices than they give to other buyers for "commodities of like grade and quality" when to do so would (a) lessen competition, (b) create a monopoly in any line of commerce, or (c) injure, destroy, or prevent competition with anyone benefiting from such a transaction. The ABA was going for two things in this case:

1. Money damages (Which are automatically tripled under the Robinson-Patman Act, also known as "treble damages.")

2. An injunction (You can read about injunctions on Wikipedia here. Basically, it's a court order telling a party to either not do something or stop doing something.)

Since a party gets triple damages under the Robinson-Patman Act, it's more difficult to obtain money damages than it is to get an injunction. The court notes seven things that have to be proved (in this case, by the ABA) in order to get money damages:

"1. Two or more contemporaneous sales by the same seller to the plaintiff and a competing buyer;

2. At different prices;

3. Of commodities of like grade and quality;

4. Where at least one of the sales was made in interstate commerce;

5. The price discrimination had the requisite effect upon competition generally;

6. The competing buyer knew the price discrimination was unlawful; and

7. The price discrimination caused injury to the plaintiff. Rutledge v. Electric Hose & Rubber Co., 511 F.2d 668, 677 (9th Cir.1975) (citations omitted); Automatic Canteen Co. of Am. v. FTC, 346 U.S. 61, 73, 73 S.Ct. 1017, 97 L.Ed. 1454 (1953). Each plaintiff seeking damages must make 'some showing of actual injury attributable to something the antitrust laws were designed to prevent.' J. Truett Payne Co. v. Chrysler Motors Corp., 451 U.S. 557, 562, 101 S.Ct. 1923, 68 L.Ed.2d 442 (1981). Each such plaintiff 'must, of course, be able to show a causal connection between the price discrimination in violation of the Act and the injury suffered.' Id. (quoting Perkins v. Standard Oil Co., 395 U.S. 642, 648, 89 S.Ct. 1871, 23 L.Ed.2d 599 (1969))."

The sticking point for money damages is the actual injury. The ABA and the independent bookstores needed to prove both that Barnes & Noble and Borders knowingly made agreements with Ingram that violated the Robinson-Patman Act and that these agreements actually injured them. To do so, they relied on the calculations of their expert witness, Dr. Franklin M. Fisher. The court refers to the evidence presented by Dr. Fisher as the "Fisher Model." I'll spare you the court's analysis. The judge ultimately concludes that "[b]ecause the Fisher model fails to show that discounts received by defendants from any particular publisher or wholesaler harmed any of plaintiffs, the Fisher model fails to show that any publisher's discounts to defendants caused any actual harm to plaintiffs." In other words, the ABA and independent bookstores lose their money damages claim on summary judgment (and you can read about summary judgment on Wikipedia here. It's basically when a court rules in favor of a party without a full trial).

The court did not grant summary judgment on the injunction claim, because the injunction claim can survive and move on to trial under a weaker standard. The judge explained the difference. "Instead, the plaintiffs must show only that there is a reasonable possibility that the price discrimination may harm competition; this reasonable possibility of harm is referred to as 'competitive injury.' Falls City Indus., Inc. v. Vanco Beverage, Inc., 460 U.S. 428, 434-35, 103 S.Ct. 1282, 75 L.Ed.2d 174 (1983)." Instead of proving actual injury, they would only have to prove "a reasonable possibility" of injury at trial.

What does this mean for Amazon? It means that the ABA would have to prove all seven elements I've quoted above from AMERICAN BOOKSELLERS ASS'N v. BARNES & NOBLE, INC. in order to obtain the triple damages provided for in the Robinson-Patman Act. That's why, as noted at The Digital Reader, Tiecher at the ABA has said, "that it's 'far too soon to speculate' about what Amazon is planning in terms of a bricks-and-mortar profile, ABA is watching the new physical store closely. And he promised his constituents that he has no intention of allowing Amazon Books to benefit from its ties to Amazon.com. He also pointed out that, for the small store to do so could be a violation of antitrust law." In other words, the ABA likely recognizes that a lawsuit against Amazon and Amazon's bookstore, Amazon Books, would be premature at this point.