Class Action Suit Alleges That Apple And Multiple Publishers Conspired To Fix Prices In eBook Industry

Back when the original iPad was getting ready to hit market, you might recall that Amazon had worked out a deal for digital version of books that were also on print that gave the reader of the digital version a discount that was very nice. I think most will agree when you are buying a digital version of a book with a fraction of the expense that it takes to print and bind a real book the price should be cheaper.

Things were chugging along for Amazon until Apple announced that it would be selling eBooks on the iPad at a price that was more than what Amazon was selling. The publishers used that Apple deal to force Amazon to up the price of the books it sold for the Kindle line of e-readers making Amazon and a bunch of consumers unhappy in the process. A law firm from Seattle has announced that they are suing Apple and a number of publishers for price fixing.

The law firm filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Northern California. The suit alleges that Apple and HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group Inc. and Simon & Schuster colluded on book prices to force Amazon to abandon the discounted prices it was selling at that were better for consumers. What will come of this suit remains to be seen.

"As a result of the pricing conspiracy, prices of e-books have exploded, jumping as much as 50 percent. When an e-book version of a best-seller costs close to – or even more than – its hard-copy counterpart, it doesn't take a forensic economist to see that this is evidence of market manipulation."

[via GeekWire]