Competition Bureau Reaches Deal with Apple, Publishers Over Ebook Pricing in Canada

Canada’s Competition Bureau announced today it had reached an agreement with Apple and three other publishers, over allegations of conspiring to raise ebook prices for Canadians. The ruling means other online retailers can offer discounts to consumers now.

The Bureau’s investigation concluded Apple and publishers colluded, which resulted in inflated prices for ebooks in Canada.

Consent agreements were reached with Hachette, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Apple, which will now let other retailers of ebooks, such as Amazon and Kobo, offer discounts on books from these publishers.

The consent agreement dated January 19, 2017, says “Apple shall not, for a period of three years from the date of the registration of this Agreement, enter into any agreement with a Major E-book Publisher that contains a Price MFN with respect to the Sale of E-books to consumers in Canada.”

HarperCollins declined to be part of the deal, so the Bureau has filed an application to order the publisher to stop its alleged anti-competitive practices in Canada.

John Pecman,, Commissioner of Competition, said in a statement:

“This case is about protecting Canadian consumers and ensuring a competitive and innovative digital economy. I commend Apple, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster for entering into consent agreements that resolve my concerns related to their conduct. As no agreement was reached with HarperCollins, I am taking action today to address its ongoing restrictions on competition in Canada.”

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Apple’s appeal in its ebook anti-trust lawsuit, which alleged the iPhone maker and other publishers conspired to jack prices. While most publishers settled, Apple went forward with a lengthy legal battle and ended up settling for $450 million.

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