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Publishers Decided Independently to Raise Book Prices, Apple Says

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Apple has responded to the US Department of Justice’s accusations, saying it didn’t conspire with publishers to push up eBook prices, but conducted negotiations with a number of publishing companies separately and drew up different agreements with each, reports Reuters.

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A filing released on Tuesday and dated April 26 reveals that major publishers were battling with Amazon, which was keeping eBook prices low. Apple says the publishers decided to drop discounts on wholesale book prices and eBooks independently, in their push for the more lucrative hardcover book sales, and took other measures to force Amazon to raise prices.

But Apple said the publishers had decided, independent of Apple, to eliminate discounts on wholesale book prices of e-books, to sell lucrative hardcover books first to bookstores in a practice called windowing and to take other measures to push Amazon to raise prices.

When Apple, then in the process of developing the iPad, approached the publishers to set up an online bookstore, the electronics giant ran into opposition when it demanded that Apple receive a 30 percent commission, that publishers not undersell them, and that windowing be scrapped.

The court filing also reveals that when Apple approached the publishers, its demand for a 30% cut wasn’t received well, with each publisher having its own proposal, so the tech giant encountered tough negotiation centered around Apple’s commission, detailing the whole process in full in document.

The lawsuit filed by the DOJ in April 2012 accuses Apple and five other publishers — News Corp’s HaperCollins Publisher Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc, Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, Verlangsgruppe Georg von Holztbrinck Gmbh’s Macmillan, and Pearson Plc’s Penguin Group — of conspiring to push up prices before the tech giant launched its iPad in early 2010.

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