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Ebook price-fixing: Macmillan settles with DoJ, Apple fights on

Cheaper electronic reads from today...

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EBooks published by Macmillan will become cheaper as of today, said the US Department of Justice (DOJ), announcing that the publisher has agreed to settle a price-fixing lawsuit.

MacMillan and the DOJ came to a settlement today, nine months after the department launched the lawsuit for price-fixing against Macmillan, four other large US publishers and Apple in April 2012.

With MacMillan having settled today, only Apple is still fighting the case. The other four publishers - Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin (USA) and Simon & Schuster - all settled with the DoJ back in 2012.

The department said that customers had been overcharged by millions of dollars as a result of anti-competitive agreements between key publishers and Apple.

The department alleges that Apple and the five publishers conspired to send up the average price of an ebook from $9.99 to $12.99 or $14.99 as a result of agreements between them.

Macmillan will immediately lift restrictions it has imposed on ebook discounts from retailers. Macmillan has to regularly inform the department of any negotiations it has with other publishers.

Apple, which previously indicated its desire to fight the case, looks set to continue to court. ®

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