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 donít think the e-book market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99," Jobs writes.
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.
Buyout offer nixed Goodreads integration into iBookstore
Amazon's buyout of Goodreads in late March also had the effect of derailing Apple plans for the iBookstore, say Wall Street Journal sources. During the past year, Apple and Goodreads reportedly discussed integrating Goodreads content into the iBookstore, namely in the form of displaying user reviews and ratings. The scheme would've echoed the way Rotten Tomatoes ratings are presented alongside movies on iTunes.
Pushes localization for App Store, iBookstore titles
Apple has sent out a memo to developers this week, urging them to localize Mac and iOS apps as well as titles on the iBookstore, notes AppleInsider. The message is being delivered through iTunes Connect, and points out that both the iOS and Mac App Stores are accessible in 155 countries and 40 languages. "In addition, the App Store editorial team is always looking for great apps that are localized," Apple writes.
Apple CEO asked to provide four hours of information
CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to testify in the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple, Reuters reports. US District Judge Denise Cote has asked Cook to provide four hours of testimony, fulfilling requests by prosecutors, who have argued that the executive likely has relevant knowledge of Apple's 2010 entry into e-books with the iBookstore. Apple opposed involving Cook, claiming that the deposition of 11 other executives made the CEO's participation "cumulative and duplicative." Cote, though, has taken the position that the passing of Steve Jobs -- in charge of Apple at the time the iBookstore was introduced -- means the DoJ is "entitled to take testimony from high-level executives."
Some Twitter users complain
Apple's official iBookstore Twitter account accidentally retweeted and favorited a potentially offensive post on Sunday night, says 9to5Mac. "Let me suck a ____ and tell you how much I love introspective novels," the original message read. Although the post quickly disappeared from the iBookstore feed, it was up long enough for some people to complain and/or unfollow.
Includes manga, other paid content
Apple has released iBooks 3.1 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. While a minor update in most countries, v3.1 is the first to bring the full iBookstore to Japan. Previously, only public domain books were available in the country; now though the store has a variety of paid titles, including manga comics.
Macmillan reaches settlement with government
The US Department of Justice has settled with publisher Macmillan in a long-running e-book price-fixing lawsuit, says AllThingsD. "Under the proposed settlement agreement, Macmillan will immediately lift restrictions it has imposed on discounting and other promotions by e-book retailers and will be prohibited until December 2014 from entering into new agreements with similar restrictions," a DoJ statement reads. "The proposed settlement agreement also will impose a strong antitrust compliance program on Macmillan, including requirements that it provide advance notification to the department of any e-book ventures it plans to undertake jointly with other publishers and regularly report to the department on any communications it has with other publishers. Also for five years, Macmillan will be forbidden from agreeing to any kind of most favored nation (MFN) provision that could undermine the effectiveness of the settlement."
Talks still ongoing with major Japanese publishers
Apple should finally launch paid titles at the Japanese iBookstore sometime this year, according to sources for AllThingsD. The company is reportedly negotiating with several Japanese publishers, such as Kodansha, Shogakukan, and Kadokawa. Talks are said to be making progress, and agreements may be completed soon. Allegedly, though, a launch won't happen as fast as the Nikkei has suggested, which is later this month.
Other categories cover podcasts, TV shows
Apple has unveiled its annual Best Of list for 2012, which promotes content the company is selling through the iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBookstore. The Best Album, for instance, is Shields by Grizzly Bear; Best Director is claimed by Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom. Taking Best Show is Breaking Bad.
Regulators accept offer from Apple, four publishers
European Commission regulators have accepted a concession offer from Apple and four major book publishers and halted an antitrust investigation into e-book pricing, Reuters reports. "The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books," claims EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. The publishers include Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan.
News reading app Flipboard has added a new Books category, integrated with Apple's iBookstore. The feature includes 25 sections of the most popular books at the iBookstore, letting users browse titles there without switching apps. If a person decides to buy a book, the title is fetched from the iBookstore and read in the iBooks app.
Back issues added over time; 70 titles added today
Publisher DC comics announced that it is expanding digital offerings beyond just its own application. Effective immediately, the Apple iBookstore, Kindle Store, and Nook Book Store will all offer the same weekly issues that only the Comixology and DC Comics applications previously carried.
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.
Central American countries added, Portuguese language support
Late on Monday and ahead of its media event tomorrow that is said to include updates to iBooks and possibly iBooks Author, Apple has opened the iBookstore in a slew of new countries, almost entirely in Central and South America (along with New Zealand). The media event, expected to introduce the "iPad mini" and perhaps other new products, has been rumored to include an update to the company's educational efforts and may indicate that the smaller iPad is being positioned for schools, education and e-reading.
Pressure from German bookseller association blamed
Apple is now preventing shoppers at the German iBookstore from using discount iTunes cards to buy books, according to a local report. The ban is said to be a result of pressure from a German bookseller's association, which sent a cease-and-desist letter to Apple last week. German law mandates that a book be offered at the same price throughout the country, something an iTunes discount in theory circumvents, if likely unintentionally. A national supermarket chain, REWE, is informing customers that iTunes cards can't be used to shop at the iBookstore.
Metadata standard allegedly changed three times in a short period
Publishing Perspective reports that Apple is pushing Spanish and other Latin America publishers to get ready for the launch of the iBookstore, but may be making it difficult for booksellers to comply. According to unnamed sources, Spanish-language e-book distributor Libranda is requesting Spanish publishers to update metadata by August 30 to conform to Apple's stringent, and possibly variable, standards ahead of the rollout.
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.
iTunes, App Store, iBook Store getting iOS 6 redesigns
Apple's iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore are in for a makeover, unconfirmed reports suggest. With the rollout of iOS 6, Apple's three digital storefronts will reportedly receive an overhaul aimed at improving interactivity when customers make purchases. While all three have received minor usability tweaks in the past, the new overhaul is said to be more extensive, and have a considerable focus on social sharing.
Bissinger hurt by Apple, Amazon no-lower-price war
The insistence on having no lower prices at e-book stores has had a conspicuous if brief casualty, according to an account. Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger shared with the New York Times that he had had his sequel book, After Friday Night Lights, pulled by Amazon after it was chosen by Starbucks as a Pick of the Week and given away through Apple's iBookstore for free through redemption codes. Amazon's automatic price check forced the Kindle price to zero, leaving online publisher Byliner.com no choice but to pull the book if it didn't want Bissinger to lose money and jeopardize the Starbucks deal.
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.
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.
Part of 'iTunes VIP' program
Apple is now offering special discounts at the online Apple store for some or all iBookstore publishers, TUAW reports. Buyers must go through iTunes Connect, but discounts on computers can range from $60 off the cheapest Mac mini to $500 off the base-level Mac Pro. The major limitation is quantity, as shoppers are said to be restricted to two Macs, two iPods/iPads, and one Apple TV.
ACCC asking for concerns over e-book fairness
The Australia Competition and Consumer Commission is considering taking the same path that the US Department of Justice did in confronting Apple and publishers over e-book pricing. Regulators have been asking Australian retailers whether they thought publishers were rigging pricing in the country. There were "competition concerns" whenever a company wanted to curb the ability to put a product on sale, the agency said.
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.
DOJ may decide Apple must be forced to change
A pair of sources said Tuesday that the Department of Justice may sue Apple over its e-book pricing concerns as soon as tomorrow, April 11. Deals were being wrapped up with "several" publishers this week, Reuters had heard, but Apple wasn't in discussions and could face legal action soon. No final decision had been made, which given the timing could see a lawsuit moved until later.
Google e-book resales shift back to Play store
Google gave notice Thursday that it was ending its e-book reseller program. The effort, which let physical retailers and other third parties resell from Google Play Books, had "not gained the traction" Google wanted. A current set of 16 partners would be phasing out as the service wound down by the end of January.
Apple may be last to bend on e-book truce
Some progress has been made on trying to negotiate a settlment on e-book antitrust disputes in the US and Europe, insiders disclosed Wednesday. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have reportedly agreed to terms that would dissolve the iBookstore deals they struck, the Wall Street Journal said, which gave them control over pricing and required that they offer no lower price than at Apple's store. Apple, Macmillan, and Pearson, however, were claimed to be "reluctant" to make a deal.
Apple could score rare victory over Amazon
The iBookstore is set to expand to Brazil within 30 days, claims a local magazine, Veja. No other details of the arrangement have been revealed, but the publication is the same one that roughly predicted when Apple would bring the iTunes Music Store to Brazil, and correctly stated that the first digital catalog by Roberto Carlos would be a highlight. The Music Store launched a few days after Veja's December 8th target.
Leaks have Apple giving up lowest-price claue
Apple may be ready to make important concessions to settle a possible Department of Justice lawsuit over e-book pricing, a pair of sources claimed Friday. Although not concrete, a deal could come "in the next few weeks," the Reuters insiders said. The core of the deal would revolve around Apple dropping its "most favored nation" clause, which bars publishers from offering a lower price at other stores.
Guild head says antitrust vs Apple may go too far
A possible DOJ antitrust lawsuit against Apple and book publishers may swing too much power towards Amazon, Authors Guild president Scott Turow said in the combination of an open letter and editorial Wednesday. He likened Amazon to a "Darth Vader" for Bloomberg, calling it a very successful company but a "frequently unscrupulous" firm. Until Apple's entrance and demands for an agency model in the iBookstore, where publishers set the prices, Amazon was pricing Kindle e-books below cost, both accelerating the death of physical bookstores and making it difficult for other e-bookstores to fairly compete.
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.
Apple denies Jobs admitted e-book collusion
Apple on Thursday hoped to rebut claims that its late CEO Steve Jobs had admitted to collusion with publishers as part of a class action lawsuit filed against it. It believed that the lawsuit's view that comments Jobs made on publishers being "unhappy" with Amazon and iBookstore pricing leveling costs weren't the surefire evidence the plaintiffs thought it was. The beliefs of a pact against Amazon's low prices was just "antitrust buzzwords" that belied steps Apple had taken to level the playing field, as well as the nature of the iPad itself.
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.
Amazon tries self-publishing outside of Kindle
Amazon is making a rare effort to branch out in its e-book publishing beyond the Kindle through a new deal with author James Atlas that was outlined on Friday. A new 12-book biography line, Amazon Lives, will be edited by Atlas and published in e-book form in other stores, the New York Times was understood. Which stores would get it weren't mentioned, although it's unlikely to involve the Nook store given active bans on Amazon material over Barnes & Noble's objection to digital exclusives on the Kindle.
Parallels restrictions at App Store
Apple is clamping down on iBookstore titles just because they link to outside bookstores, a report notes. Stop Stealing Dreams author Seth Godin complains that Apple recently rejected his title because the book contains links to works cited in the bibliography. "Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link," a rejection notice reads. Godin comments that the issue is also easy to work around in his case, since the unrestricted EPUB edition can be accessed on an iOS device via a web link.
iBooks ePubs can have DRM removed
New updates to copy protection stripping tool Requiem appear to have removed the copy protection from Apple's paid iBooks downloads. The update so far is only known to work with ePubs and not Apple's newer .ibooks textbook format, but it has been tested on the MobileRead forums and elsewhere as working. The app had already worked with pre-iTunes Plus music and with at least some videos.
Early pre-order titles no longer need art
Apple has issued a letter to iBookstore publishers, informing them of several small but significant upgrades to the storefront. The first is support for screenshots, which Apple recommends using for "Fixed Layout, Read Aloud, and Multi-Touch books." The change was likely made with Apple's interactive textbook initiative in mind.
Non-iBooks output uncontrolled
Apple has pushed out an update to iBooks Author, the company's recently-launched publishing tool. The sole change in v1.0.1 is a new end-user agreement, clarifying a controversial portion of the document which initially suggested that any material produced with the software could only be sold through the iBookstore if it was sold at all. "If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a 'Work'), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e.g., through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple," one part of the previous EULA read.
Barnes and Noble tries third-gen Nook reader
Barnes & Noble in an elaborate study of its business gave away plans for a third-generation Nook e-reader. Scant details were given to the New York Times, but it would ship sometime in the spring. The bookseller's recently established pattern suggests it's an E Ink reader like the Nook Simple Touch rather than an Android tablet.
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.
CEO hints at possibility of Android textbooks
Prior to yesterday's textbook announcement, McGraw-Hill had been in talks with Apple since at least June, an AllThingsD interview reveals. "Sitting and listening to all of this, I wish Steve Jobs was here," says McGraw-Hill CEO Terry McGraw. "I was with him in June this past year, and we were talking about some of the benchmarks, and some of the things that we were trying to do together. He should be here. He probably is. This was his vision, this was his idea, and it all had to do with the iPad."
2GB cap being ignored by Apple partners?
(Updated with iTunes Connect info) In tandem with the announcement of iBooks Author, Apple has published a support document illustrating some details. The company notes, for instance, that while books can be published to the iBookstore as free or paid titles, they can also be exported as separate PDF, text, or iBooks files for distribution elsewhere, though only for free. Selling on the iBookstore requires registration, and a copy of iTunes Producer; submitting to iTunes U requires an iTunes U website.
iBooks 2 gets our early look
Apple committed iOS to education in a big way at its event by launching iBooks 2. We've taken a look at Apple's first dip into a full digital textbook platform and come back fairly impressed. Read ahead for more details and what this might mean for Amazon, Kno, and others hoping to get into e-books for schools.
Makes for interactive, media-rich textbooks
(Updated with iBooks Author availability) Presenting at today's education event in New York City, Apple has introduced iBooks 2, a major update of the company's reading app. A strong emphasis of the app is on textbooks, which can include things like movies, animations, and interactive elements, such as the ability to zoom into cell structures in a biology book. Books now also support elements like indexes, glossaries, review questions, and turning highlights or glossary items into study cards. Titles can be read in a new fullscreen mode, and a Textbooks section has been added to the iBookstore.
We cover Apple NYC event as it happens
Apple is starting its New York City education event. The company is expected to introduce a new system to ease publishing textbooks and is rumored to be updating Pages and iBooks, including a possible Mac-native iBooks app. Check our real-time coverage for updates as they appear, starting from 10AM Eastern.
iBooks could arrive on Mac for first time
Apple could announce Pages '12, an iBooks 2.0, and textbooks rentals at this morning's education event in New York City, claims ZDNet's Jason O'Grady in a Twitter post. The writer cites only a "little birdie" for the information but also mentions that iBooks 2.0 could include a version for Lion, and that all three products will be announced by Roger Rosner, Apple's VP in charge of iWork.
Company unlikely to use native app approach
Apple's digital textbook project is internally codenamed "Bliss," an AppleInsider source claims. The site says it actually received the tip earlier in the week, but it wasn't until a Wall Street Journal report corroborated some of the details that it decided to publish the information. This includes the assertion that Roger Rosner, Apple's VP for iWork, is overseeing the project.
Bloomberg info expands, reiterate claims
Apple's education event in New York City -- scheduled for tomorrow -- will place an emphasis on growing the educational materials available for the iPad, particularly for K-12 students, say two Bloomberg sources claimed to have "knowledge of the announcement." The people also say that Apple's plans will be revealed by senior Internet software VP Eddy Cue, and involve a set of tools making it easier to publish textbooks and other educational content.