Consumer rights and antitrust law firm Finkelstein Thompson has filed a class action complaint in a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, against Apple and the “big six” book publishers alleging a conspiracy to fix eBook prices. This is the second class action complaint to hit these companies this month.
The publishers include the Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group (USA), Random House and Simon & Schuster. The complaint alleges that these publishers colluded with Apple on an agency model for eBook prices on the iPad.
Here is more from the press release: “The complaint alleges that six of the defendants implemented price-fixing agreements contemporaneously with Apple’s introduction of the iPad in April, 2010. Defendants allegedly did so by coordinating the introduction of an ‘agency’ model for eBooks sales, where the publishers are the direct sellers of the eBooks and dictate the price at which online retailers, such as Amazon.com, can sell the eBooks as agents for the publishers. The book publishers and Apple allegedly agreed among themselves to simultaneously raise the price of eBooks, often from $9.99 to $12.99 or higher. The remaining defendant — Random House, Inc. — implemented a similar price increase in February 2011.”
Earlier this month, consumer rights firm Hagens Berman filed a class action suit against Apple and all of these publishers except Random House.