Books Jacket Copy

EU reportedly poised to accept Apple e-books settlement

The European Union is poised to accept a settlement in the case it brought against Apple and publishers over e-book price fixing, Reuters reports. Apple and four publishers -- Hachette, HarperCollins,  Macmillan and Simon & Schuster -- were part of a settlement offer made in September.

"European Union regulators are to accept an offer by Apple and four publishers to end an antitrust probe into their e-book prices, two sources said," Reuters writes, "handing Amazon victory in a bid to sell online books cheaper than its rivals, sources said."

The action in the EU roughly parallels the e-book price fixing suit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice in April. In the case, five major publishers -- Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster -- were accused of colluding with Apple to fix the prices of e-books. In that case, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster agreed immediately to a settlement.

One difference between the cases in the U.S. and the European Union is the stance of Macmillan. The publisher's European parent Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck is reported to be ready to agree to a settlement; in America, Macmillan head John Sargent took a very public stance that there had been no collusion. Macmillan apparently plans to fight the case in American courts. The same goes for Apple.

Then there's Penguin, the fifth and last publisher involved in the European and American e-book price fixing suits, which did not participate in either settlement. Whether Penguin will end up in court or seek separate settlement terms may be affected by its pending merger with Random House.

A merger between the world's largest publisher Random House and Penguin was announced last month. It's huge news for publishing -- it would mean there are five major publishers instead of six, and a single company would control more than a quarter of all trade books published each year. But it's not clear what the merger will mean for Penguin's position in the e-book price-fixing cases.

Random House, which did not offer its e-books to Apple when the iPad launched with the iBookstore, has not been involved in the e-book price-fixing suits. Yet Penguin has been. Stay tuned for what that means for future publisher Penguin Random House.

ALSO:

Nate Silver versus the pundits

Election books for kids -- for now and later

Government sues Apple, publishers over e-books

 

Carolyn Kellogg: Join me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Hanif Kureishi's 'The Last Word' lacks a certain sense of voice
    Hanif Kureishi's 'The Last Word' lacks a certain sense of voice

    Hanif Kureishi's "The Last Word" suffers from the genius problem: To create a believable virtuoso, the character's brilliance must light up the page. Such an issue arises any time an author tries to write about such a figure: J.D. Salinger, whose weakest effort, the novella "Hapworth 16, 1924,"...

  • Trying to make sense of the world of ubiquitous surveillance
    Trying to make sense of the world of ubiquitous surveillance

    Airports are exemplars of our surveillance society. Here a raft of digital surveillance, targeting and sorting systems come together. And they start working well before you arrive for check-in, with the U.S. government comparing your name against watch lists as soon as you buy a ticket.

  • India bans 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film, but the book's a hit there
    India bans 'Fifty Shades of Grey' film, but the book's a hit there

    Indian censors have decided the movie "Fifty Shades of Grey" is too sexy to be released there. Don't tell them the book is on their bestseller lists.

  • Dennis Lehane drinks in some sunlight
    Dennis Lehane drinks in some sunlight

    Dennis Lehane is one of Boston's best-known writers. Born and raised in the community of Dorchester (or, as he would pronounce it, "Dorchestah"), he's got a Bostonian no-nonsense, tough-guy edge, and his books, including "Mystic River" and the six-book Kenzie-Gennaro mystery series, are set...

  • Indie spotlight: Pushkin Press
    Indie spotlight: Pushkin Press

    When Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" won Oscars for its costumes, makeup, score and production design, it swept something else along in its winning tide: Austrian writer Stefan Zweig. The long-deceased author, who wrote in German, penned the personal stories that were the film's...

  • Elizabeth McCracken wins the Story Prize
    Elizabeth McCracken wins the Story Prize

    Elizabeth McCracken is the recipient of the $20,000 Story Prize for her collection “Thunderstruck.” McCracken was awarded the short-fiction prize Wednesday night at a ceremony in New York.

Comments
Loading