Apple, Publishers Pushing Back Against DOJ Ebook Charges

Apple, Penguin and Macmillan are not backing down from a DOJ suit that accuses them of colluding to keep ebook prices high. Apple's agency model keeps the market competitive, say the publishers.

Apple is calling the U.S. Department of Justice€™s accusation that it colluded with a number of publishers to keep ebook prices high and in check €œsimply not true.€ The company€™s statement comes days after federal prosecutors leveled charges against Apple and five book publishers concerning ebook pricing and whether these companies conspired to keep prices high at a cost to consumers.

Apple spokesperson Tom Neumayr said in a statement that the 2010 launch of Apple iBookstore €œfostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon€™s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.€

Since then, Neumayr added, €œcustomers have benefitted from ebooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we€™ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.€

The DOJ€™s Antitrust Division filed a lawsuit against Apple and five of the nation€™s largest book publishers, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Penguin. Attorney General Eric Holder, in an April 11 press statement, called it €œprogress in protecting American consumers from anti-competitive harm, ensuring fairness in the marketplace and making certain that cutting-edge technologies are available at the lowest possible price.€