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US Justice Department sues Apple, publishers over e-book prices

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | 12:57 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department and several states have sued Apple Inc. and major book publishers, alleging a conspiracy to raise the price of electronic books that Attorney General Eric Holder said costs consumers millions of dollars.

The government also has reached a settlement with three publishers, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. But it will proceed with its lawsuit in federal court in New York City against Apple, Holtzbrinck Publishers (doing business as Macmillan) and The Penguin Publishing Co. Ltd. (doing business as Penguin Group).

Holder told the Justice Department news conference on Wednesday that "we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles" as a result of the alleged conspiracy. The department's antitrust chief, Sharis Pozen, said the scheme added $2 to $3 to the prices of individual books.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said the total cost to consumers was more than $100 million.


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