THAT is the headline for this Wall Street Journal story alert sent by the always-alert Edward Boyhan.
' The Justice Department has warned Apple Inc. and five of the biggest U.S. publishers that it plans to sue them for allegedly colluding to raise the price of electronic books, according to people familiar with the matter.
Several of the parties have held talks to settle the antitrust case and head off a potentially damaging court battle, these people said. If successful, such a settlement could have wide-ranging repercussions for the industry, potentially leading to cheaper e-books for consumers. However, not every publisher is in settlement discussions. '
Involved are Simon & Schuster Inc., Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA), Macmillan, and HarperCollins.
Many will remember that Random House stayed out of this the first year, feeling that a bookstore would know better what works for selling their books.
All have declined to comment.
The WSJ was the first to report, LONG AGO, that it was Apple and Steve Jobs, who suggested moving to the 'agency mode,' under which the publishers would set the price of the book -- and this included the stipulation that publishers couldn't let rival retailers sell the same book at a lower price.
This was so clearly a case of price fixing, in an area with a long history of special sales, that many of us were perplexed that no action was taken before. But now it's here.
WSJ's Thomas Catan and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg add (taking a passage said by Steve Jobs to his biographer Walter Isaacson
' "We told the publishers, 'We'll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that's what you want anyway,'" Mr. Jobs was quoted as saying by his biographer, Walter Isaacson...
The Justice Department believes that Apple and the publishers acted in concert to raise prices across the industry, and is prepared to sue them for violating federal antitrust laws, the people familiar with the matter said. '
MUCH MORE in the story by the Wall St. Journal.
The history and some possible solutions are discussed in the article. It also mentions that the European Union has said it is also investigating the allegation and there are several class-action lawsuits filed and consolidated in a New York federal Court.
Here is my earlier set of stories on "The Email-Pricing Wars" with sourced and linked detail from reporting at the time by The NY Times, The Washington Post, WSJ, and several other newspapers, as it happened.
(Most of the other newspapers did not pay much attention to the details at the time). The stories are linked in chronological order and will give you more detail reported as it occurred and includes key video clip that pretty much told the story back then and would be complementary to Jobs's description of what was agreed upon. "The prices will be the same" was the key phrase in the video and was an answer to a question by Walt Mossberg on why customers would buy a $14.99 book from iStore when they could find it at Amazon for $9.99.
Kindle Touch 3G, US-only Kindle Touch WiFi (US) Kindle Touch WiFi-Only, outside US
Kindle Keybd 3G (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G) K3 Special Offers K3-3G Special Offers DX
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published ones
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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