Judge approves price fixing settlement

I almost missed this one in my effort to follow all the new e-reader news today: Judge Cote approved the DOJ settlement with three of the so-called “big six” publishers.  Under the terms of the settlement, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette will no longer be using agency pricing.

You have to admire a judge who quotee Emily Dickenson in her ruling and reflects a certain amount of cynicism as well:

In another section of the decision, Judge Cote acknowledges that the vast majority of public comments in response to the settlement were negative. She adds, however, that some comments were “extreme” and sought to blame “every evil to befall publishing on Amazon’s $9.99 price for newly released and bestselling e-books, and crediting every positive event — including entry of new competitors in the market for e-readers — on the advent of agency pricing.”

Consumers who don’t like agency pricing (like myself) will see this as a decided victory. The  lawsuit against Apple and two other publishers, however,  has yet to go to trial.

Now, let’s see it the price comes down on Stephen King’s On Writing. Then, if only we can get them the government to work on the library lending issue, I’ll be a happy camper….

DOJ files suit against Apple, Big Five

As has been hinted at for weeks, the Department of Justice has filed a civil suit against Apple and the so-called “Big Five” publishers: Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster.  Random House did not initially sign on to the ageny model, so it is not a part of the U.S. lawsuit. The DOJ has alleged collusion and price-fixing over the agency pricing model. Here’s a link to the DOJ filing. The level of detail in the filing is amazing and very muh at odds with rumors that the DOJ “had no evidence of any wrongdoing.”

According to this article from Bloomberg, Hachette, Simon & Shuster, and Harper Collins are rumored to have settled with the DOJ. The article further states that Penguin intends to fight.

In Macmillan’s response, CEO John Sargent says that they will fight the suit.