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Independent booksellers sue Amazon, publishers for monopoly

02/21, 6:34pm

Suit blames DRM for lack of ability to enter the market

Independent booksellers The Book House, Posman Books, and Fiction Addiction are suing Amazon and the "Big Six" publishers consisting of Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House, and Simon & Schuster. The suit accuses the seven companies of monopolizing the e-book market by selling titles encumbered by draconian digital rights management, and says that the companies have a seeming unwillingness to enter into agreements with smaller bookstore chains or groups. The moves have limited consumers' choices, and barred independents from successfully entering the e-book market, the booksellers say.

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EU ready to accept deal with Apple, book publishers

11/06, 12:26pm

Deal would have Amazon going back to original ebook prices

Regulators with the European Union are prepared to accept a proposal by Apple and four publishers to end an antitrust investigation into ebook pricing, Reuters sources say. Under the terms of the arrangement, Apple and the publishers would let retailers set their own prices and discounts for at least two years. The deal would also suspend "most-favored nation" contracts for at least five years; in this case, for instance, it would block contracts stopping retailers from selling books more cheaply than Apple.

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E-book settlement terms revealed: $69 million to be paid out

08/30, 6:10pm

Checks or e-book store credit available from most vendors

Book buyers in 49 states and five territories are poised to receive $69 million as a result of civil suit settlement accusing Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster of collusion with Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin. If the settlement is approved by Judge Denise Cote, the three publishers will partially reimburse consumers who bought agency-priced e-books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.

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Apple blasts DoJ over settlements in e-book collusion trial

08/15, 10:19pm

Settlement terminates existing contracts

Apple has blasted the Department of Justice over a settlement with several book publishers in an ongoing trial surrounding allegations of price fixing. The company argues that the proposed settlements would effectively nullify its existing contracts with the publishers—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—before any witness has been called to testify and before the court has had a chance to review details of the case.

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Barnes & Noble complains to DOJ about e-book fixing case

06/08, 11:43am

Claims agency pricing a boon to industry

Bookseller Barnes & Noble has sent a complaint to the US Department of Justice regarding a proposed settlement in the latter's case against e-book price fixing, says paidContent. The DOJ has proposed a settlement with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster, who were all accused of colluding to keep e-book prices artificially high by moving to an agency model. In its complaint, B&N claims that the settlement "represents an unprecedented effort" by the DOJ to become "a regulator of a nascent technology that it little understands," and that e-book and hardcover prices have actually fallen under the agency system.

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Apple says decision to face DOJ trial voluntary, talks to EU

04/18, 7:35pm

Apple eager to determine case in court

Apple on Wednesday stated that its confronting a Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing was deliberate. Attorney Daniel Floyd told Judge Denise Cote that Apple believed the lawsuit was "not an appropriate case" and wanted to prove itself in court. The company wanted this to be "decided on the merits," Reuters heard while observing Floyd at a hearing.

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DOJ sues Apple, publishers over e-book pricing [u]

04/11, 2:25pm

DOJ starts lawsuit to force fair e-book prices

(Updated with settlement news) As suspected, the US Department of Justice has sued Apple and publishers over claims of unfair e-book pricing. The complaint accuses Apple of colluding with publishers by both requiring a switch to an agency model, where publishers set the prices and ask for more, as well as demanding "most favored nation" status where no rival could have a lower price than the iBookstore. Some publishers are believed to have settled, but Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster are all targeted.

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EU willing to settle with e-book publishers over pricing

03/12, 12:35pm

EU deal may avoid penalty over Apple book pricing

European Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in comments Monday said his agency was willing to settle with publishers over an e-book price fixing investigation. He was willing to put an end to possible penalties for Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan if they addressed "all our objections [at the EC]" over the group allegedly raising prices unfairly, Reuters heard. The European regulator was working in tandem with matching US investigators, although he didn't directly confirm leaks of a possible Department of Justice lawsuit.

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DOJ preps antitrust lawsuit versus Apple, e-book publishers

03/07, 11:45pm

DOJ warns Apple must change iBookstore rules

The US Department of Justice is readying an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and publishers unless they change their pricing strategy for e-books, leaks revealed Wednesday night. Agency officials reportedly slipped to the Wall Street Journal that both the iPad designer as well as Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster would face legal action for possibly having colluded on e-book pricing. DOJ prosecutors objected to Apple's since confirmed insistence on an agency model, where publishers set the price, as it allegedly kept e-book prices artificially inflated.

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Random House ups library e-book rates to keep uncapped loans

02/07, 11:35am

Random House stays pay-once with e-book libraries

Random House helped set a possible precedent for e-books in libraries late last week after it agreed to a deal on lending. While it would raise the price for an e-book by an unspecified amount, the term would guarantee that libarires could have any title they want and provide an unlimited number of loans. The deal was portrayed to Publishers Weekly and others as giving authors fair compensation while still letting libraries treat e-books like they would paper.

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Expanded lawsuit: publishers picked Apple to punish Amazon

01/21, 1:45am

Hagens Berman amends Apple suit over collusion

Hagens Berman's class-action over iBookstore prices was expanded on Friday with potentially more serious evidence. New claims from the law firm allege that Hachette Livre (incorrectly described as Hatchett) chairman Arnaud Noury met with an unnamed Amazon executive on December 3, 2009 several weeks before the iPad unveiling to convince him to raise the price of e-books on the Kindle Store. According to the anecdote, Noury had said that a $2 to $3 price hike over the existing $10 would solve not just Hachette's problems but those of its competitors, suggesting that it was aware of and working together on raising prices.

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EC investigates if publishers, Apple collude on ebook prices

12/06, 7:30am

EC worries iBookstore may have made illegal deals

The European Commission detailed plans Tuesday for a formal investigation into major publishers and Apple as to whether their deal might violate EU antitrust law. Officials will determine whether Hachette Livre, HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan have possibly used Apple to shut out e-book competition from rival stores or publishers. EC staff are worried that the agency model, where the store makes a flat rate and the publishers set the prices, is keeping the price of titles on the iBookstore and elsewhere artificially high.

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Class action lawsuit accuses Apple of price fixing on iBooks

08/09, 6:45pm

Hagens Berman sues Apple over iBookstore prices

Seattle-area law firm Hagens Berman on Tuesday filed a class action lawsuit accusing Apple of colluding with publishers to fix iBookstore prices. The suit, submitted in a Northern District of California court by representing members Anthony Petru and Marcus Mathis, accuses Apple of making unfair deals with Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster to artificially keep prices high. In adopting the agency pricing model, where the store takes a fixed cut but lets publishers dictate the price, Apple set terms that forced Amazon to abandon the wholesale model for the Kindle and raise its prices.

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Elle, Pop Sci among few magazines with in-app subscriptions

02/17, 4:15pm

Most magazines avoiding new scheme, says report

Only a relative handful of magazines are so far adopting Apple's in-app subscription scheme, an Advertising Age report claims. The major obstacle is said to be demographic data, which publishers normally use to sell advertising space. Because turning over the data is strictly voluntary in iOS apps, magazines are thought to be resistant. "Without the demographics, which iTunes [Apple] won't release, the print world is castrated," says Gary Armstrong, a consultant on branded content and a former Wenner Media executive.

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Rush of illustrated titles accompanies iBooks 1.2 update

12/15, 4:45pm

Area generally unexploited in tablets

Over 100 illustrated books have been added to the iBookstore in tandem with the release of iBooks 1.2, says the New York Times. These are spread across several different genres, including cooking, photography and children's books. Some notable titles include Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, a photo collection by Ansel Adams and the Olivia series of picture books.

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iBookstore expands to Canada

07/01, 11:00am

Brings major publishers in tow

In tandem with Canada Day, Apple has finally expanded the availability of paid books to the Canadian iBookstore. Several major publishers have begun selling titles, including Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Book prices may vary substantially, but some featured launch titles range in cost between $12 and $18, roughly in line though perhaps slightly more expensive than US editions.

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Texas investigating Apple, publishers over e-book pricing

06/02, 11:00am

Texas AG thinks iBookstore pricing may be unfair

Texas' attorney general is investigating Apple and publishers for possible anti-competitive e-book pricing, multiple sources said on Wednesday [sub. required]. At least Hachette and HarperCollins have confirmed they were asked to provide documents, but Apple is also believed to be a target. The WSJ speculates that the investigation may have to do with Apple's preference for an agency model on the iBookstore, where publishers have control over the pricing.

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iPad seen cutting Kindle's e-book share from 90% to 35%

02/17, 8:30am

Apple, Google to whittle Amazon market share

The iPad and a more concerted effort from Google will cut the Amazon Kindle's share of the e-book field by two thirds, Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang said in a report issued Tuesday. He believes Apple's entry into the field has "stoked fears" about the growth of the Kindle and that this, combined with Google Books, will drop Amazon's e-book sales share from a near-monopoly 90 percent today to just 35 percent within five years.

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Amazon restores Macmillan books

02/05, 8:20pm

Amazon fulfills promise after price war

Amazon today confirmed that it has put back Macmillan's titles on both the Kindle store and in its regular store. The move follows after Amazon agreed to raise prices on e-books last weekend as the result of a three-day standoff. Amazon had unsuccessfully tried to withdraw books as a negotiating tactic to keep prices at $10.

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Hachette pushing Amazon for price hike, to take Apple model

02/05, 8:15am

Hachette echoes Macmillan in e-book price war

Hachette today followed Macmillan's pricing strategy and said it would raise prices on its e-books. The approach will use the agency model where the publisher, not the retailer, sets the prices. It will notably use the Apple price scheme and ask between $13 and $15 for new and bestselling titles as well as change prices over time, with some older and shorter titles costing as little as $6.

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HarperCollins also delaying e-book releases

12/11, 4:05pm

HarperCollins joins others in delaying e-books

HarperCollins is the latest publishing house to announce it will delay the release of new electronic books in order to give their hardcover counterparts more time on the shelves and to ensure the longevity of the book industry in general. The chief executive of HarperCollins, Brian Murray, said the delays will start in January or February and involve the delay of five to 10 new hardcover titles each month. Depending on the book, the delay could range from four weeks to six months.

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