Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and 15 other state attorneys general filed a lawsuit last week against three of the nation’s largest book publishers and Apple for conspiring to raise the retail prices of electronic books.
“Agreements among competitors to fix prices are illegal,” Horne said in a prepared statement.
The lawsuit alleges that Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster conspired with other publishers and Apple to artificially raise retail prices for e-books by imposing a distribution model where best seller books are priced at $12.99 and $14.99, according to a release by the attorney general’s office. It forced all e-book outlets to sell books at the same price and eliminated retail competition, the lawsuit states.
The suit hopes to stop the price fixing and collect damages for customers who paid for the alleged inflated prices, the release states.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also filed suit against the companies.
The federal government reached a settlement with three of the publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster. But it will proceed with its lawsuit in federal court in New York City against Apple and Holtzbrinck Publishers, doing business as Macmillan, and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd., doing business as Penguin Group.