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Macmillan agrees to settlement in e-book price-fixing case

By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Department Producer
updated 10:53 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Macmillan is the last of five publishers to reach a settlement
  • Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Hachette settled earlier
  • Litigation with Apple continues, with a trial scheduled to begin in June

Washington (CNN) -- The Justice Department has reached a settlement with Macmillan, the last of five large publishers to come to an agreement after being accused of conspiring with Apple to raise e-book retail prices, the department announced Friday.

The settlement should lead to lower prices for Macmillan's e-books, an official said.

Litigation with Apple continues, with a trial scheduled to begin in June.

The Justice Department had previously settled its claims against Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Hachette.

The latest settlement was filed in the Southern District of New York.

"As a result of today's settlement, Macmillan has agreed to immediately allow retailers to lower the prices consumer pay for Macmillan's e-books," said Jamillia Ferris of the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.

"Just as consumers are already paying lower prices for the e-book versions of many of Hachette's, HarperCollins, and Simon and Schuster's new releases and best-sellers, we expect the prices of many of Macmillan's e-books will also decline," Ferris said.

The government says publishers were unhappy that competition had pushed the price of its most popular e-books to as low as $9.99. After the alleged conspiracy consumers often had to pay $12.99, $14.99 or more.

Apple distributes e-books through its iBookstore.

After a 60-day comment period on the MacMillan settlement, a federal judge will decide whether to approve the court filing.

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