HarperCollins Settles Price-Fixing Claims Involving e-Books
HarperCollins Publishers settled in April claims by the Justice Department that the publisher engaged in a price-fixing scheme to control the prices on its e-Books, and that settlement has now been approved by the federal court. Pursuant to that settlement, HarperCollins has worked out new price agreements with its sellers, according to the Washington Post.
Alleged Price-Fixing Scheme Involved Apple and Five Publishers
The Justice Department alleged that five major publishers and Apple conspired to set prices for e-books, allowing publishers rather than the distributors to set their own prices for their e-books. The price-fixing conspiracy was designed to address Amazon’s deep discounts on best sellers. Two other publishers, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group, have also settled with the Justice Department. Apple and the remaining publishers, Penguin Group (USA) and Macmillan, have declined to settle the price-fixing charges against them. Trial is expected to commence on those claims next summer.
At this point, prices on e-books continue to vary widely, with the same book costing anywhere from $9.99 to $14.99 depending on the distributor. Publishers are still negotiating new price agreements with their distributors. Price wars are possible as other online distributors feel pressure to meet Amazon's prices.
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