U.S. Justice Department Climbs Aboard E-Book Antitrust Investigation
December 8, 2011 10:11 AM
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Very few details were provided regarding the investigation in the hearing, other than that the probe would look into possible anticompetitive practices in the way of e-book sales
Earlier this week, it was discovered that the
European Commission had launched an antitrust investigation
to determine if international e-book publishers were taking part in anticompetitive practices, and now the U.S. Justice Department is jumping onboard the investigation as well.
The European Commission's investigation specifically targets five e-book publishers who may have been practicing anticompetitive tactics with the help of Apple and its e-book store iBooks. The five publishers in question are Hachette Livre (
Lagardère Publishing France), Harper Collins (News Corp., U.S.A.), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., U.S.A.),
(Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany).
Now, the U.S. announced its involvement in the e-books investigation at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Very few details were provided regarding the investigation in the hearing, other than that the probe would look into possible anticompetitive practices in the way of e-book sales.
Also, the U.S. is
roping Amazon into its investigation
as well. According to reports, Attorneys general in Connecticut and Texas are looking into whether e-book retailers like Amazon and Apple are using pricing tactics that are "harmful to consumers," mainly referring to the e-book industry's switch from a wholesale model, where retailers set the price of e-books, to an agency model, where publishers set the price of e-books.
Back when Amazon was one of the only e-book retailers in town with its Kindle, e-books were set at a price of $9.99. But since other competition, such as Apple's iBooks on its iPad, came to the table, bestselling e-book prices have risen to $14 and up.
The Los Angeles Times
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/9/2011 6:46:00 AM
It appears to me from personal experience that e-books have increased the demand for quality reading material. I have seen the readership increase dramatically as people purchase a reading device. I have friends who are reading 4 books a month who hadn't read 3 books in a year prior to their e-book reader purchase. Yes supply and demand still work and the G-men have no more insight into pricing than those who participate in the market.
“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith
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