see you in court
Posted by Dale Buss on April 13, 2012 01:04 PM
The under-$10 bestseller -- so prominent a part of the promise of e-books when they burst on the scene about five years ago -- looks to be returning soon to a screen near you.
That's the most anticipated outcome from the suit filed Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department against Apple and five leading book publishers who, the government said, conspired to lift the price of many best-selling e-books to $12.99 to $14.99 -- after they didn't like the financial compression provided when Amazon succeeded in cutting the price of many books for its Kindle e-reader to $9.99.
While making books easier for consumers to obtain and read, of course, e-books have proved a financial challenge for traditional book publishers and authors, because they tend to flatten the industry's financial structure. But the government said, basically, "Tough!" and sided with consumers.
"As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles," said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.
So Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins agreed to settle charges with the government, while Macmillan and Penguin Group hadn't yet done that. Neither did Apple. So they appear headed for court.
Meanwhile, Amazon hailed the action as a boon for consumers and said it looks foward to "being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books."
Amazon didn't elaborate. But the handwriting is on the wall.
[Image via Shutterstock]