Macmillan settles with Department of Justice over collusion accusation

Feb 8, 2013
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In April, the Department of Justice sued Apple and five publishers, accusing them of joining together to raise ebook prices in an effort to put the kibosh on Amazon's oft-criticized discounting of bestselling books. Not surprisingly, the accusation was denied, and a few of the publishers settled with the DoJ fairly quickly. Now Macmillan has begrudgingly settled as well, leaving only Apple.

In a statement released today, Macmillan said that it has settled with the Department of Justice "because the potential penalties became too high to risk even the possibility of an unfavorable outcome." The publisher admits to no wrong doing, however, and states that settling is not an admission of guilt in the matter. The settlement must still be approved by court, but assuming it is, retailers will be able to discount the publisher's ebook titles after a three day wait.

At the heart of the issue is Amazon's discounting of recently released bestselling books at $9.99. The alleged collusion, according to the Department of Justice's lawsuit, resulted in priced rising to $12.99 and $14.99. When the lawsuit came down, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette Book Group all settled straight away, while Pearson waited until December 2012.

According to The Wall Street Journal, per the settlement, the discounting will be in effect for two years, with the start of those two years being December 18, 2012. Now that Macmillan has conceded to a settlement, Apple is the last of the six accused that hasn't settled. Apple has said nothing on the matter, having denied any wrongdoing from the start.

[via Wall Street Journal]


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