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Macmillan Settles E-Books Pricing Case, Apple Trial In June

 February 08, 2013 11:02 AM

(By Balachander) Macmillan has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to resolve allegations of price-fixing in the e-book market. The DOJ said it will continue to litigate against Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) for conspiring with Macmillan and four of the other largest U.S. book publishers to raise e-book prices.

In April 2012, the United States filed a civil antitrust complaint alleging that Apple and five of the six largest U.S. publishers restrained competition in the sale of electronic books.

According to the complaint, the five publishers and Apple conspired to raise retail e-book prices and eliminate price competition, substantially increasing prices. The companies were unhappy that competition among e-book sellers had reduced e-book prices and the retail profit margins of the book sellers to levels they thought were too low.

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The department said consumers were typically forced to pay $12.99, $14.99 or more for the most sought after e-books.

Macmillan agreed to immediately allow retailers to lower the prices for Macmillan's e-books, the DOJ said on Friday.

The Justice Department previously settled its claims against four book publishers – Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Simon & Schuster Inc. 

The DOJ said the trial against Apple is scheduled to begin in June 2013. 

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