Feeds

Penguin gives in to US Feds over ebooks

Publisher drops defiant stance, settles price-fixing case

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Penguin has caved in to the US Justice Department, agreeing to a settlement over alleged price-setting of ebooks after holding out since April.

Three of five publishers that the Justice Department accused of conspiring with Apple over ebook pricing have already settled. Penguin's capitulation leaves just one publisher, MacMillan, and tech firm Apple as the remaining two defendants. The allegations levelled at the firms have to do with the agency model, which allowed the publishers to set the price of ebooks, from which the fruity firm took a 30 per cent cut.

While Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster settled up straight away, Apple, Penguin and MacMillan all said they would fight the allegations.

Penguin, owned by Pearson and about to merge with Bertelsmann's Random House - which is not a defendant - is still holding out in Europe, where Apple, MacMillan, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster have all agreed to drop "most favoured nation" clauses from contracts with Apple and allow other retailers to discount ebooks.

The most favoured nation clause meant that the price offered to Apple was the lowest and publishers couldn't offer a lower price to other shops, keeping all ebooks at the same price. The Justice Department has alleged that the publishers also agreed with each other about what price books should be.

The change to using the agency model instead of the wholesale model, where retailers buy the books at a certain price and then sell them on at whatever price they like, is believed to have been a reaction to deep-discounting Amazon. The giant etailer had been selling ebooks at cost or below to push sales of its Kindle ereader and gain brand loyalty to dominate the growing market. ®

A new approach to endpoint data protection

More from The Register

next story
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?