Marks end to European investigation
In order to end an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, Pearson-owned book publisher Penguin has offered to drop e-book deals with Apple that inflated prices for Amazon and other vendors, Reuters reports. Penguin is the fifth publisher to settle, joining Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillian, which along with Apple reached a settlement with the Commission in December.
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.
If settlement approved, only Macmillan and Apple left standing
The United States Department of Justice confirmed today that the Penguin group has made a settlement offer in New York District Court to end its ongoing e-book price-fixing antitrust investigation. If accepted by the Department of Justice and the judge, only Apple and Macmillan will remain as defendants in the suit. Under the agreement's terms, Penguin must cease doing business with any e-book seller it is currently doing business with, including Apple. The publisher will also be prohibited from signing new deals with any distributors that limit discounts for a period of two years.
New agreements come nine months after leaving OverDrive
Penguin books is to start lending e-books again in the near future, if reports are to be confirmed. Working with distributor Baker and Taylor, the digital books will be available to borrow from Los Angeles and Cleveland-based libraries, though rule changes surrounding the new lending system compared to previous iterations will force libraries to buy a new copy of the book every year.
Deal will result in largest book publisher, to be complete by latter half of 2013
Penguin and Random House have announced they will merge to become the world's biggest English-language book publisher. This is likely a result of the ever-growing and competing e-book market, though neither admits it. Under the terms, Random House will own 53 percent of Penguin Random House, while Penguin will take the rest.
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.
Publishers call federal complaint full of innuendo
Book publishers Penguin and Macmillan are denying accusations of a conspiracy with Apple to fix the price of e-books, saying the claims are based on “little circumstantial evidence.” According to the New York Times, the two companies said that the US government piled “innuendo on top of innuendo” in the federal complaint, with shots also fired at Amazon by saying the government “sides with a monopolist.”
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.
Apple publicly responds to DOJ lawsuit
Apple after silence through the past two days responded Thursday to the Department of Justice lawsuit over alleged e-book pricing collusion. Spokesman Tom Neumayr flatly rejected the accusations when asked for comment by AllThingsD, recapping the company's objections to the European Union that the iBookstore was beneficial as it was created. The iPad-focused store kept Amazon from having excessive control and improved e-books themselves, Neumayr said, pointing out that the move beyond the Kindle format also upgraded books themselves.
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.
Penguin didn't have Amazon permission for lending
Penguin's recent decision to pull its e-books and digital audiobooks from libraries is because it didn't have permission to distribute the borrowed books by forwarding users to Amazon, INFOdocket said. OverDrive only had relationships in place with publishers, who can store and serve library end users' e-books. It doesn't have the authority to send users to Amazon or any other retailer to actually check out the book, the report continues.
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.
Penguin has selective return to e-book lending
Penguin has partly reversed course on its decision to pull e-books from lending. Library partner OverDrive said mid-week that older books were now options once again for virtual library borrowing on at least the Kindle. New titles, however, were still being left out of the collection on any e-reader.
Publisher cites security concerns
Book publisher Penguin Group has reportedly decided to pull its e-books from digital lending programs managed by many libraries. The company has cited unspecified concerns over content security as the motivation behind the change in policy, though many publishers are believed to distance themselves from digital lending as a strategy to bolster sales numbers for physical books.
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.
New Penguin books come back to Kindle
Amazon and Penguin today put an end to their dispute over pricing for e-books on the Kindle store. Penguin has agreed to resume adding new e-books after it began withholding them on April 1, leaving at least 150 titles without a presence in the online shop. Neither company gave the terms of the deal or said what had triggered the fight.
Amazon cuts physical book prices to hurt Penguin
Amazon today was reported as having dropped the prices on some of Penguin's physical books to force a deal with the publisher for e-books [subscription required]. Coming weeks after Penguin stopped providing Kindle books on April 1st, Amazon has cut the costs of some brand new hardcover books to the same $10 it would normally charge for a digital edition. The price slash would be especially painful for Penguin as it and other publishers hate major discounts on new titles.
App revenue split more profitable than paper?
Publisher Penguin Books this week demonstrated a series of possible iPad books, presenting the concepts at an event in London, England. A number of titles may, in fact, bypass the iBookstore for the App Store, in order to enable interactivity. A children's book for instance could permit coloring drawings while reading, and still other titles could enable live chats, or augmented reality functions like displaying constellations over the real night sky. A book on human anatomy might allow people to zoom in on individual body parts and load animations on how they work.