Apple and Other Publishers Sued Over Expensive E-Books
The United States government deemed e-book price points by several publishers, including Apple, as beyond reasonable, and as a result have sued Apple, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan. On Wednesday a case was filed by the United States Justice Department, along with several states, against these publishers which have allegedly been costing consumers at least $100 million in the previous two years.
While e-book sales have remained modest in more than five years ago, recent sales have started to skyrocket since the Kindle was introduced by Amazon in 2007. In 2007 e-book sales have accounted only a measly 2% in the bigger market of book titles. But just in 2011 this percentage grew to an impressive 25 percent and generated as much as $441 million in total sales in 2010 and $969 million in 2011.
According to the federal government publishers are in involved in a huge conspiratorial web that eliminated competition among the e-books and raised their prices. In the past two years these publishers, including Apple, HarperCollins, and Mcmillan, have been able to accomplish this by adding anywhere from $2 to $5 to the price of each e-book. This was the statement of Sharon Pozen, anti-trust chief at the Department of Justice. According to the lawsuit, these publishers aimed at a price increase over at Amazon as Apple began to introduce the iPad in 2010. The spokesperson over at Apple has refused to comment on the issue.
A settlement has already been reached between the U.S. government and three of the publishers, namely Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins. Apple and Macmillan, however, have refused to settle or even negotiate, stressing that they have not engaged in any effort whatsoever at unfairly raising e-book prices. Penguin Group, meanwhile, is also planning to deal with the lawsuit in court if needed.