US sues to lower prices of e-book best-sellers
“WASHINGTON (AP) — The government says avid best-seller readers who use electronic books have been getting ripped off. Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants,” Tim Tebow’s “Through My Eyes” and Keith Richards’ “‘Life” — maybe they should have cost less.
The Justice Department and 15 states sued Apple Inc. and major book publishers Wednesday, alleging a conspiracy that raised the price of electronic books. They said the scheme cost consumers more than $100 million in the past two years by adding $2 or $3, sometimes as much as $5, to the price of each e-book.
If there was price fixing, even the e-book version of the hot-selling Walter Isaacson biography of Steve Jobs, the late genius behind Apple computers, may have cost too much.
Attorney General Eric Holder said executives at the highest levels of the companies conspired to eliminate competition among e-book sellers. Justice’s antitrust chief, Sharis Pozen, said the executives were desperate to get Amazon.com — the marketer of Kindle e-book readers — to raise the $9.99 price point it had set for the most popular e-book titles, because that was substantially below their hardcover prices.
The federal government reached a settlement with three of the publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster. But it will proceed with its lawsuit in federal court in New York City against Apple and Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group…….”
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