The ebook market is one of the most profitable markets today. There are a lot of readers today who prefer to read digital copies of the books they love, and that also means that there are a lot of publishers who make digital copies of the books along with a traditional paperback version. Also, there are a lot of companies which manufacture digital book readers, such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and even Apple with the iPad as its answer to a digital book reader.
The cost of ebooks compared to their paperback version of the books are much cheaper, due to the fact that there is no physical material involved in the production. But there have been instances recently where certain publishers have increased the prices of their ebooks, in order to make more money. This has given rise to a lawsuit with the Department of Justice coming to the rescue. Also, this is with respect to Amazon’s Kindle ebook readers.
Kindle ebook reader owners who have made any book purchases between the April 2010 and May 2012 will receive partial refunds ranging from $0.30 to $1.32 per book. But these books need to be published by HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, or Hachette to qualify for a refund. Electronista writes:
If the settlement is approved by the supervising judge, the agreement will limit the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices, which in theory will lead to lower costs for e-books. “We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future,” Amazon told customers in the emails.
The three publishers, plus Apple had been accused of colluding in an attempt to sustain high prices for e-books, through contractual agreements that prohibited booksellers from offering discounts. The contracts were viewed as a way to compete against rival Amazon, which routinely sells select e-books at a loss as part of a broader strategy to promote the Kindle platform.
Many credit the iBookstore and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store with dropping Amazon’s market share of e-books from 90 percent to 60 percent, and it’s suspected that Apple may be more likely to win than not if the DOJ goes to a full trial. Evidence provided by the DOJ itself pointed to publishers talking to each other at meetings regarding e-book pricing, but none where publishers were clearly talking to Apple at the same time.