New program allows up to 10 books to be downloaded for offline reading
Document storage service Scribd has launched a new ebook "all you can read" subscription service. For $9 per month, users have access to nearly the entire HarperCollins US collection of e-books, with sales available on all the rental titles. The cross-platform Scribd app on iOS and Android provides the gateway to the books and free Scribd-hosted content, with the user being able to download up to 10 books for offline reading.
Indicates Apple was pushing for prices higher than Amazon
US Department of Justice filings in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple reveal an exchange between former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and News Corporation/HarperCollins' James Murdoch, notes AllThingsD. In the course of a Jobs-penned email, which dates back to January 2010, the CEO explains why Apple is proposing to tie e-book prices to hardcover ones. "We simply don’t think the e-book market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99," Jobs writes.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UK agency joins US in investigating e-book prices
The UK's Office of Fair Trading said on Tuesday that it would look into possible antitrust violations in the pricing set by e-book retailers and publishers. It said it had received a "significant number of complaints" about the pricing. While no companies were named, the WSJ heard the issue was with the agency business model used by Amazon's Kindle store and Apple's iBookstore in collaboration with at least HarperCollins and Penguin.
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.
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.
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.
Amazon Kindle sees majors follow iBookstore model
Amazon today bowed to pressure ahead of the iPad launch by striking new Kindle book deals with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Similar to the terms for Macmillan, the change will let both publishers use an agency model that gives them control over prices. Some bestseller e-books will now cost between $13 to $15; others will still cost the usual $10, but others should be priced below Amazon's average.
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.
Murdoch says Apple more flexible than Amazon
News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch today openly dismissed Amazon's e-book store in favor of Apple's in his company's fiscal results call on Tuesday. The executive, who also owns publisher HarperCollins, argued that the Kindle store's $10 or less pricing "devalues books" and punishes those selling hard copies. He instead favored Apple's deal with HarperCollins for iBooks and the iPad, which he hinted would allow a "variety of slightly higher prices" that could bend to reflect demands.
Harper would set prices at Apple store
Publisher HarperCollins is negotiating e-books for Apple's upcoming tablet, a late Wednesday rumor says. Referring to its typical "people familiar with the matter," the WSJ provides few details but does say HarperCollins would set the base prices while Apple would take a cut of sales. Many of the terms are believed in flux even just days before Apple's announced January 27th event.
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.