Apple, e-book publishers sued over pricing
The federal government says bestseller readers who use electronic books have been getting ripped off. Tina Fey's "Bossy Pants" and Tim Tebow's "Through My Eyes" -- maybe they should have cost less.
The Justice Department and 15 states sued Apple Inc. and major book publishers Wednesday, alleging a conspiracy that raised the price of e-books. They said the scheme cost consumers more than $100 million in the past two years by adding $2 or $3, or even $5, to the price of each e-book.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said executives at the highest levels of the companies conspired to eliminate competition among e-book sellers. Justice's antitrust chief, Sharis Pozen, said the executives were desperate to get Amazon.com -- the marketer of Kindle e-book readers -- to raise the $9.99 price point it had set for the most popular e-book titles, because that was substantially below their hardcover prices.
The government reached a settlement with three of the publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. But it will proceed with its lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan against Apple and Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group.
Officials said it was too early to say how consumers can go about getting refunds under the settlement. -- AP