Holtzbrinck Publishers L.L.C., which does business as Macmillan, has reached a preliminary agreement with Connecticut and 32 other states over allegations that the publisher engaged in price-fixing and collusion in the market for e-books.
The agreement, if finalized and approved by the court, would grant e-book outlets greater freedom to reduce the prices of e-book titles and would provide $12 million to compensate affected consumers in the 33 states that are party to the lawsuit, Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said today.
“Consumers are entitled to a fair and open marketplace,” Jepsen said in a prepared statement. “This agreement is another step toward providing restitution to those consumers who were harmed by alleged price-fixing within the e-book market and will further ensure that, going forward, consumers benefit from fair competition in the sale of e-books.”
Settlements over the price fixing allegations have been reached and approved with three other e-book publishers: Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc. The latter settlements were joined by the attorneys general of 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. The settlements’ final approval provides $69 million for affected consumers. Final approval paves the way for the affected consumers to receive $69 million in consumer restitution.
Litigation between the states and Apple Inc. and Penguin Group is ongoing.