updated 03:25 pm EDT, Fri April 20, 2012
iBookstore may be forced to change in Canada too
The US lawsuit over e-book pricing was quietly preceded by civil lawsuits in Canada. An interview with Quebec attorney Normand Painchaud confirmed to the Montreal Gazette that he had asked for class action status on a lawsuit against Apple and the same five major publishers targeted by the US government. Other lawsuits have been filed in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario.
All three share the US Department of Justice's view that Apple and publishers were colluding over the iBookstore's use of the agency model, where publishers choose the price, as well as the no-lower-price clause. The iPad designer along with Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster had artificially hiked prices from $10 or less to as much as $14.
As a class action, the lawsuit would demand damages for any Canadian who had shopped from the iBookstore on or after April 1, 2010. Such lawsuits usually lead to small payouts to customers that actively seek out a claim, but it could be enough to compensate for the difference or to pay for a full book.
Apple has long insisted that it was breaking up Amazon's monopoly through the deals it made and that it hadn't actively colluded with other publishers. The argument isn't as strong in Canada as in the US, however, as the Kindle Store only came late to Canada and didn't get the 90 percent share that it had right before the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble's Nook Store came into being.