Well, Apple and a bunch of other major publishers.
The issue is pricing for ebooks. What the DoJ – (Departmant of Justice) believes is that the agreements between Apple and Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin Group, Pearson Plc and Simon & Schuster led to an agency agreement establishing non-competitve pricing for ebooks is unfair.
The deals were enacted two years ago at outset of Apple's launch of the iPad. In reality, it was probably an answer to Amazon's success with ebook-selling for its Kindle devices. From the announcement:
“Apple facilitated the publisher defendants’ collective effort to end retail price competition by coordinating their transition to an agency model across all retailers”
But the DoJ thinks that this has allowed ebook pricing to stay high. The question is whether those deals are unfair to consumers, even if they potentially keep the publishing industry financially viable.
Overall, it's hard to tell who's really at fault here. Personally, I'm constantly surprised by the standard cost of an ebook. It seems, unlike their dead tree cousins, ebooks start expensive and stay expensive. There is seemingly no savings passed on to the consumer in lieu of the sacrifice of a physical commodity. Ebooks are cheap to make, right? So why aren't they cheap to buy?
There's no guarantee this case will see a major change in ebook pricing, but it's good to at least get the conversation started.
Original article: U.S. sues Apple, publishers on e-book ‘agency model’ price-fixing (Globe and Mail Technology)