Book publishers have reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice over the e-book price fixing ring of which Apple was allegedly kingpin. That settlement is great news, because it means we'll be able to buy cheaper e-books really soon.
Apple was accused of teaming up with HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group to bar Amazon from selling e-books at a discount by keeping their prices artificially high. But because of today's settlement, the shady partnership is over, and Amazon can go back to peddling e-books at $US9.99 or lower.
Apple will still have to go to court next spring to answer to anti-trust allegations, as will two other publishers that didn't settle — Penguin and Macmillan. A couple of camps might not be so thrilled about the settlement, however. It could cause a bit of a pricing debacle for traditional book stores, because book books will never be as cheap as e-books. The other is Amazon competitors. In 2010, the last time Amazon was able to sell e-books for $US9.99, it had a stranglehold on 90 per cent of the market, and other retailers struggled to make inroads. Now they fear they're going to be in the same boat all over again.
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