Justice’s proposed settlement with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster would end their agreements with Apple and allow retailers to set their own prices for e-books. Amazon welcomed the proposed deal as “a big win for Kindle owners.” Mark Cooper, director of research for the Consumer Federation of America, said consumers should look for savings soon.
“The price went up immediately when they did their deal, so there’s no reason not to expect the price will come down,” he said. “The cartel will unravel.”
But litigation for Apple, Macmillan and Penguin could take years. In addition, attorneys general from Connecticut, Texas and 14 other states and territories are seeking action against publishers, although they have settled with Hachette and HarperCollins. The states want restitution for consumers who bought e-book titles at higher prices.
Separately, Apple is facing a class-action lawsuit in New York from customers who accuse the company of overcharging for e-books and are demanding refunds.