Apple Blames Book Publishers in E-Books Antitrust Lawsuit
Reuters is reporting that Apple has responded to the Justice Department's accusations that the company colluded with publishers to increase e-book pricing, saying that it negotiated with the publishers separately and reached different agreements with each.
But Apple said the publishers had decided, independent of Apple, to eliminate discounts on wholesale book prices of e-books, to sell lucrative hardcover books first to bookstores in a practice called windowing and to take other measures to push Amazon to raise prices.
In a court filing dated April 26 but released on Tuesday, Apple said it had approached publishers to create an online bookstore that would eventually become the iBookstore and had demanded a 30 percent commission, that publishers would not undercut prices paid to Apple, and that "windowing" be scrapped.
Apple said that points of contention in early negotiations centered around Apple's demand for a 30 percent commission and price caps. Apple went on to note that each publisher immediately offered its own counterproposals in what Apple described as "tough negotiations."
The company also claims that before it entered the market the publishers were engaged in a battle to break Amazon's grip on the low-cost e-book market, with Apple laying the blame for any potential collusion on the publishers.
The lawsuit was originally filed in April 2012 and included HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan and Penguin, but the Justice Deparment settled with the publishers and has since concentrated on Apple. Recently, CEO Tim Cook was ordered to testify in the case.