Apple Denies Wrong-Doing on Ebook Price Fixing

If you think you pay too much for ebooks you’re not alone. Apple has been experiencing negative backlash in regards to price-fixing between itself and its publishers. While Apple has consistently denied any wrongdoing over ebook pricing, it has finally agreed to an out-of-court settlement.

The law suit involved 33 US states and territories. A court document filed in New York last week states that a ‘binding agreement’ was reached between Apple and litigants. Compensation amounts were not revealed, however, it’s thought that those involved were seeking upwards of $840 million US or about £495m.

A separate trial last year resulted in a judge ruling that Apple had violated anti-trust laws by striking deals that enabled them to charge more for some ebooks. Litigants seeking reparations from Apple in this most recent court case linked to the ruling from last year, several of which were seeking compensation for overpaying for their ebook purchase.

The allegation was that Apple, a large distributor of ebooks, had illegally conspired with five of the largest publishers to stop Amazon from selling titles at a lost profit. Previously publishers sold their ebooks at wholesale prices, with retail companies such as Apple and Amazon, freely setting their own prices.

The court case heard that the publishers — Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster Inc. — had agreed with Apple to move to an “agency model,” in which the publishers agreed to a minimum retail price with distributors, thus preventing them from offering titles at a loss.

While the publishers agreed to pay more than $166 million in settlement money, Apple denied any involvement in the price-fixing, and instead, accused the plaintiffs of “false accusations” and remains in the process of challenging last year’s ruling.

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