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Ebook publishers anxious to settle antitrust probes as market booms

Ebook publishers anxious to settle antitrust probes as market booms


The Wall Street Journal reports that of the five publishers accused of price fixing of ebooks, three are inclined to settle. Meanwhile, research suggests that ebook adoption in the US is grown.

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Of the five publishers accused of collusion over pricing of ebooks last month, three are inclined to settle the case, the Wall Street Journal reports. The allegations relate to Apple's terms and conditions of its iBooks store, which said that while publishers could set their own prices, the same books could not be sold cheaper anywhere else. This forced a change for other retailers, like Amazon, which was previously able to set its own prices, using cheaper ebooks to drive sales of its Kindle hardware. The publishers inclined to settle are Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, and Hachette, while Apple, Penguin, and Macmillan are so far allowing the investigation to continue.

Meanwhile, a study by the Pew Research Center has found that 21 percent of adults in the US read an ebook in the last year, an increase of four percentage points over December's results. The survey also found 15 percent of those surveyed read an ebook in a typical day, a fourfold increase in less than two years. It also suggests that users with e-readers are also more avid readers in general: owners of devices like the Nook and Kindle read an average of 24 books in the last 12 months, as compared to 15 for those still relying on paper copies. However, the number of people reading ebooks on other devices means that there's still room to grow for manufacturers, as only 41 percent of ebook readers used a dedicated device while the rest used computers, cellphones, and tablets.