DoJ plans to sue Apple and major US book publishers

The Department of Justice is planning to sue Apple Inc. and five big US publishers for collusion around e-book pricing. According to the Wall Street Journal, the DoJ has "warned" Apple Inc., CBS Corp.'s Simon & Schuster Inc., Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group. Pearson PLC's Penguin Group (USA), Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH, and HarperCollins Publishers Inc., a unit of News Corp. that there will be an antitrust case brought against them. "US Warns Apple, Publishers" (WSJ)


  1. Is it usual for the DoJ to warn corporations this way?  Seems like it’s just letting them know in advance which records they need to get rid of before the suit is actually brought.

    1. Well, it’s the same DoJ that allows all these giant monopolies to form via mega-mergers, etc. in the first place…  Same DoJ that thought Comcast buying NBC was perfectly cool, etc.

      This is the result of the highest bidder influencing the corrupt DoJ.  Has very little to do with actual justice and everything to do with money, money, money.

    2. The DoJ is notifying them because it’s basically a tactic to get them to the table pre-litigation, in hopes of avoiding the actual case.  The DoJ wouldn’t announce it to them in this fashion unless it already HAD the material it needed for a case.  They have done similar things before.

    1.  Amazon wants to break the publishers and be able to set its own prices on books. On the other hand, Apple wants to work with the publishers and let the publishers set the prices. After a little kerfuffle a few years back between Amazon and Macmillan, Amazon was forced to capitulate, which was not necessarily  bad thing if you’re a signed author. I wonder whether someone’s been lobbying for this investigation…

  2. Good! I refuse to buy digital editions that are only pennies cheaper than the cut-down-a-tree, process it, print it, bind it, ship-it-to-your-door editions. It’s getting ridiculous.

    1. The proper price for an e-book is…whatever they want to sell it for. It’s a luxury item, it cannot be overpriced.

      1. Not sure how it’s a luxury item. Don’t forget publishers are competing with the same book in other formats, other books in the same format, and – especially relevant with internet purchases – just putting it in the wishlist and moving on.

  3. I’m a big fan of Amazon, but I’d kind of like them to have a gander at their “you have to offer us the lowest price” policy. That’s anti-competitive too.

  4. Apple should absolutely be sued into the ground over this, and the publishers with them. Their price exclusivity contracts should also be illegal.

  5. On Amazon, some Kindle book prices, particularly from Hachette, are substantially higher than the *hardcopy* price. Like, ridiculous prices. The listing is usually noted: “Price set by publisher”.

  6. You’d think the publishers would take a look at the incredible success of sub-$5 games and apps on mobile platforms (which I think ebook readers count as), and adjust their prices accordingly.   But then, you’d think the publishers actually think.

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