Friday, September 7, 2012

Judge Agrees to E-Price Fixing Settlement

Despite plenty of objections, federal district court judge Denise Cote has approved the settlement reached by the Justice Department and three of the five publishing houses in the e-book price-fixing case.

The settlement mandates that Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster discontinue current e-book sales agreements for the next two years and pay $69 million in damages to customers who purchased e-books between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. Apple has said it will appeal the judge’s decision. The ruling means retailers can set their own prices, regardless of publisher pricing.

Amazon has indicated it is ready to resume “aggressive” e-book pricing.

The judge dismissed all objections, finding those concerns to be unreasonable. However, she also sided with the NACS position that e-textbooks should not be part of the settlement.

“While disappointed that the settlement agreement was upheld, we are pleased that the judge agreed in her ruling with our opinion that e-textbooks are not covered by the final judgment,” said Charles Schmidt, director of public relations for NACS. “By making this distinction, we hope that competition and innovation in the higher education textbook market continues.”

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