Amazon Grabs Major e-Book Win

Get ready for $9.99 e-books

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 7, 2012 9:08 AM CDT

(Newser) – An e-book price-fixing settlement is a victory for Amazon—and could pave the way to lower prices for consumers. A federal judge has approved a settlement between three publishers and the Justice Department after officials argued that a total of five publishers were teaming up with Apple to boost prices and limit Amazon's ability to discount them. Now, Amazon will be able to cut prices to earlier levels—around $9.99, or cheaper. That could exert serious pressure on the entire market, experts tell the New York Times.

"Everybody competing with Amazon in the e-book market had better fasten their seat belts," says a publishing consultant. Now, the three publishers in the settlement— HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette—must terminate their Apple contracts and any other deals that prevent retailers from setting prices. The publishers also face a two-year "cooling-off period" in which they can't sign new deals with similar restrictions. Two other publishers, plus Apple itself, refused to join in the settlement, meaning a trial next summer. The losers in all this? Independent bookstores, says an Authors Guild leader, who will struggle even more to compete with lowered prices.

In this Sept. 28, 2011 file photo, the Kindle Fire is displayed at a news conference, in New York.
In this Sept. 28, 2011 file photo, the Kindle Fire is displayed at a news conference, in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
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