Along with four other publishing giants, Apple has agreed to settle an antitrust case with EU regulators over Ebook price fixings. This should lead to a reduction in price restrictions on Ebook sales sites like Amazon.
The big five involved were Apple, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Livre, Macmillan and Harper and Collins and they all covertly, “contrived to limit retail price competition for e-books in the European Economic Area, [which is] in breach of EU antitrust rules,” according to the European Commission. As part of the settlement, each of the publishers has agreed to terminate any on-going agreements between themselves and to exclude themselves from making certain clauses in future ones.
EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said: “While each separate publisher and each retailer of e-books are free to choose the type of business relationship they prefer, any form of collusion to restrict or eliminate competition is simply unacceptable.”
It was believed that through collusion, the publishing giants were managing to maintain a higher retail price for Ebooks, while making it harder for other publishers to introduce a lower retail price, thereby hindering competition.
However, Almunia now believes all is well: “The commitments proposed by Apple and the four publishers will restore normal competitive conditions in this new and fast-moving market, to the benefit of the buyers and readers of e-books.”
Zdnet explained in its rundown that while all five have agreed to these changes, Penguin Publishing is still under investigation for not making similar commitments.
KitGuru Says: Ebook pricing is important to get right, now. It’s the bow wave of the future of books and if the perceived value of an Ebook is tarnished now, it’ll be difficult to rectify in the future.