Apple has been found guilty of ebook price fixing, with a New York federal judge ruling today that the Cupertino firm conspired with publishers to drive up the cost in its iBookstore. The ruling will now be followed by a trial for damages, Reuters reports, which will decide how much Apple must pay the US government and several states.
Apple has vehemently denied conspiring with publishing industry heavyweights to artificially inflate ebook pricing, countering Department of Justice claims that Steve Jobs attempted price fixing with the argument that Apple and the rights holders were in fact strongly opposed throughout negotiations. Apple, representatives from which appeared in a New York court on Monday this week as the latest phase of the ebook price fix case kicks off, argued that the DoJ's assertion that Steve Jobs and the five big publishing houses were working together to force ebook prices up from the $9.99 Amazon had been commonly charging, to the $12.99-14.99 of the agency model, was patently false, and that the former-CEO's emails with publisher counterparts were being taken out of context.
Apple has launched its iBookstore in Japan, bringing content from a variety of publishers to its Japanese customers. Offerings include both indie publications and major titles, digital exclusives, and titles enhanced specifically for the iPad. This brings the total number of countries where the iBookstore is available to 51.
Today Apple unveiled a new section to its iBookstore called "Breakout Books," which features books published to the iBookstore by indie authors. The curated collection highlights titles that have earned four and five star reviews, so not every indie book will get its moment of glory in the new section.
A report from the Japanese publication Nikkei is claiming that Apple will be extending its digital bookstore into Japan this month. The report claims that the Apple iBookstore could be rolled out in Japan as early as January 2013. The report also indicates that Apple has signed up with a number of big Japanese publishers.
The US Department of Justice brought a lawsuit against Apple and ebook publishers yesterday regarding price fixing, and already three companies have settled. Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster will have to break their current contracts with Apple and negotiate new ones. While it’s indicates an early victory for the DOJ, CNET believes that the agency won’t have the same success with Apple.
Apple won’t be feeling the pressure of price fixing ebook practises in just the United States: now the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is said to be mulling the idea of bringing a lawsuit against Apple for similar reasons. The Next Web reports that the ACCC has begun to ask retailers to shed light on the issue while it considers taking action against Apple.
If you're an iPad toting fan of Marvel graphic novels, you can get your reading fix on your Apple gadgets via the iBookstore now. Marvel has announced that 80 of its graphic novels are now available for download from the Apple digital bookstore. It appears that at least one of these graphic novels is available free to get you started. Pricing on the digital books depends on the content, apparently starting at $6.99 and up.
Apple today updated its new e-book publishing app, iBooks Author, to version 1.0.1, but the only change was in the End User License Agreement. The update clarifies a controversial portion of the EULA that suggested any content created by the app could only be sold and distributed through Apple's iBookstore if it were to be sold at all.
Apple's iBooks 2 digital textbook launch last week may not have convinced everyone that the classroom is the best place for the iPad, but over 350,000 downloads of textbooks in the first three days of availability suggests there's big demand for learning on the iOS slate. The figures were tracked by Global Equities Research's proprietary monitoring system, AllThingsD reports, while downloads of the free iBooks Author tool have also apparently been successful.