Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 13 July 2014

US sues over e-book price fixing

Computer giant Apple is being sued for e-book price fixing by the American government.

It has filed an anti-trust lawsuit in New York against the company and various major book publishers. It claims the publishers conspired with Apple to raise retail electronic-book prices to limit competition.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Manhattan. It said the effort was a response to the success Amazon had in selling e-books for just under $10.

The lawsuit said the conspiracy came as Apple was preparing to launch the iPad and gave Apple a guaranteed 30% commission on each e-book it sold.

At the heart of the e-book pricing debate is the industry's continuing concerns about Amazon.

Publishers see the "agency model" as their best, short-term hope against preventing the online retailer from dominating the e-book market and driving down the price of books to a level unsustainable for booksellers.

Since launching the Kindle in 2007, Amazon has made a point of offering best-sellers for $9.99 in the US. The discount is so deep from list prices of $20 and more that it is widely believed Amazon is selling the e-books at a loss as a way of attracting more customers and forcing competitors to lower their prices.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk