Caltech and NYU economists call for Apple ebooks trial verdict to be overturned

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Apple’s prospects of a successful appeal against the ruling in the ebooks trial may be improved by a brief filed by two economists from Caltech and NYU who suggest that the ruling was in error and call for it to be reversed.

Apple was found guilty of anti-competitive practices on two grounds. First, it asked publishers to switch from a wholesale pricing model – where publishers sold books in bulk and retailers set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set prices and retailers took a percentage cut. This, the court found, reduced price competition …  Read more

Apple formally appeals ebooks antitrust ruling, asks for monitor to be suspended until a new decision is made

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Apple has formally appealed the Department of Justice’s ebooks antitrust case, via the Associated Press. Previously, Apple has only officially complained about the power of the appointed monitor — now they are asking for the entire case to be re-evaluated.

Apple claims it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price fixing and that Apple setup iBooks through legal arrangements without knowledge of any behind-the-scenes collusion.

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Apple shows off new iBooks, available today

Apple CEO Tim Cook is live on stage at the company’s special media event in California, and he just announced a new version of iBooks.

News and features:

  • 400 million iBooks downloads
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Better integrated with iCloud— purchased books show up on shelf
  • Fantastic new ways to share — tap favorite quote and share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Supporting over 40 languages— new Korean, Chinese, Japanese
  • Available today, free download

Education news and iBooks Author:

  • iBooks textbooks reinvent the textbook full screen gorgeous layouts, interactive
  • Textbook available for 80 percent of high school
  • 2,500 US classrooms with iBooks textbooks
  • Publishers can now take own fonts and provide custom look
  • Multitouch widgets
  • 94 percent of fortune 500 is testing or deploying iPad—seeing similar in smaller business

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Apple and Amazon notify customers of $69M State settlement with publishers, how to get credit

Earlier this week, Amazon began letting customers know if they were eligible for a share of the $69 million state attorney settlements with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon and Schuster. Today, Apple started notifying iBooks customers, who bought an iBook from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012, of the same payout.

The payout will be dispersed as Kindle/iBooks credit or customers can call a number to request a check for delivery in February.

Notably, if you purchased the Steve Jobs eBook bio from Simon and Schuster on iBooks or Amazon, you should receive this notice.

To be clear, this is separate from the Federal price-fixing case surrounding Apple and some publishers. Barnes and Noble and other eBook distributors are likely doing the same thing. The Amazon version is below:

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Apple finally comments on DOJ antitrust charges: ‘We’re breaking monopolies not starting them’

Apple finally commented late this evening on the U.S. Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against the company. What did Apple think up with those extra 48 hours? Peter Kafka got the scoop from Apple’s Tom Neumayr:

The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.

The civil antitrust suit alleged that Apple’s move to let publishers set their own prices—and it is a requirement that publishers do not sell their digital books for cheaper elsewhere—forced consumers to pay millions more for books than they should have.

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Analysts: Apple has a strong case in DOJ’s lawsuit over eBook price-fixing

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Apple and five other publishers over eBook price-fixing. The Department of Justice reached a settlement with three of the publishers in the suit, but Apple, MacMillan, and Penguin are standing strong (the U.S. is also after Simon and Shuster). Yesterday, MacMillan’s CEO released a letter on the matter and explained why the publisher chose not to settle. In the note, he said the Department of Justice’s settlement demands “could have allowed Amazon to recover the monopoly position it had built before our switch to the agency model.” He also said it is “hard to settle a lawsuit when you know you have done no wrong” and called the agency model the future of an “open and competitive market.”

As CNET noted, the Department of Justice may have a more difficult case against Apple. For one, Apple does not have a strong-hold in the eBook market, because Amazon has the commanding lead with its Kindle sales. The Department of Justice has a case against the publishers rather—and that is most likely why three of them have already chosen to settle. Apple only holds open the store, while publishers are the ones who choose the prices to set.

The settlement reached with three of the publishers yesterday is said to give them “freedom to reduce the prices of their e-book titles,” which allows Amazon to go back to its previous wholesale model.

A key point that the Department of Justice is using in its lawsuit is when all five of the publishers met together at a hotel in London to talk over eBook prices. Apple was not present at the meeting, so this may give the Department of Justice a harder time to press the Cupertino-based Company. Of course, the Department of Justice could still come out victorious, but it may have to dig a little deeper against Apple than it did with publishers. We are sure there will be more out of this case as time goes on.

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US government sues Apple in eBook price-fixing antitrust suit

Bloomberg is reporting that the United States has filed an antitrust lawsuit in a New York district court against Apple and publishers Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster over alleged eBook price-fixing. The news follows reports from Reuters yesterday that the U.S. Department of Justice was preparing to launch a lawsuit against Apple and five major publishers accused of colluding to fix and increase the price of eBooks.

According to the report, all the parties named in the suit—except Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple— are willing to settle to avoid legal costs. The Department of Justice could announce “unspecified” settlements as early as today.

At the core of the settlement discussions is the agency model introduced with the iPad in 2010. The deal with publishers was described by Steve Jobs to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30%, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway…. They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

The model allows publishers to set their own prices as long as Apple gets a 30 percent cut and a guarantee that the same content is not offered lower elsewhere, but the Department of Justice is trying to return to Amazon’s wholesale model by giving retailers like Amazon control over pricing. Bloomberg explained: Read more

First-ever Harry Potter eBook series is iPad, Mac-compatible with ePub format, and Kindle-friendly too

J.K. Rowling’s widely popular Harry Potter series is at-last available electronically.

The author’s own online Pottermore Shop displays all seven titles in ePub format, and prices vary between $8 each and $10 each, per copy. Fans can also purchase the entire series for $57.54.

The ePub files are unprotected and compatible with most iOS devices, Android devices, and any other eReader, tablet, or smartphone that accepts ePub format. In addition, the Harry Potter eBooks are available in Amazon Kindle formats. A full list of compatible devices and reading services is also available on the Pottermore Shop website.

Conspicuously, Rowling did not make the eBooks available through Apple’s iBookstore.

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Steve Jobs Bio balloons to 656 pages, publication date gets murky

As noted by SetteB.it, the Steve Jobs bio “Enhanced eBook” is now set by Simon and Shuster at 656 pages. That’s over 200 additional pages more than the previous page count which may have been a very low estimate. Recently, Walter Isaacson said that Jobs’ resignation would be added to the book, but it seems like a stretch that that chapter would add 50% more content.

Also, the publication date has move from November 21st, to “on or around November 21st”, signaling that there may be some movement in the release date.

You can pre-order the book at Amazon or on Apple’s iBookStore where it still is listed at 448 pages.
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Did Apple eject Google Books from the App Store for violating terms?

For reasons yet undefined, Google Books has been removed from the iTunes App Store.  We noticed the App was gone earlier this week but thought it might have been just a blip.  Now it has been awhile.

Google Books was just updated in April with new 3D page turning, landscape mode and search so it is unlikely that Google decided to orphan it.  Google launched its Books initiative in December of this year as a competitor to Amazon and Apple’s eBookstores.

So why is it gone now?  The timing with Apple’s new, controversial Terms of Service would seem like the most obvious explanation.

Was Google in violation of Apple’s new in-app purchase terms of service? Or, is this because Harry Potter is coming out on Google Books?

We’ve reached out to Google and Apple for answers.

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