By Diana Rocco
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — E-books are revolutionizing the way people read on the go. In Rittenhouse Square, one woman coming out of Barnes and Noble said, “I love it. I absolutely love it. It’s so easy.”
But the convenience could be costing you more. Attorney General Eric Holder says consumers were charged as much as five dollars more per book. Now, Pennsylvania is one of 15 states that have joined him in filing an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five other publishing companies.
Holder says Apple and five of the “Big Six” publishing companies conspired to raise prices on the consumer, forcing bookstores like Amazon to charge, on average, two to three dollars more per e-book, rather than the $9.99 dollar price they had originally set. The policies went into effect in April 2010, and that’s when consumers started paying more. Investigators say it was to coincide with the launch of the iPad, and Apple received 30 percent of the higher sales. The AG also alleges late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was involved.
Three of the five publishing companies–including Simon & Schuster, owned by CBS–have agreed to settle to the tune of more than $50 million, which will go back to the consumer.
Apple and two other publishers have chosen to litigate. Apple has yet to comment; Macmillan says they did nothing wrong. The AG believes this will bring e-book prices down.
And consumers should see some money back for over payment, about two to three dollars per book. Details still need to be worked out, but it may come in the form of a credit or a check via mail.