The Department of Justice has rejected objections raised by the public to its proposed settlement with HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster over alleged e-book pricing collusion and the agency model. Bookseller Barnes & Noble, American author association the Authors Guild and a group of US independent publishers including Grove/Atlantic and Perseus had been among those to lodge complaints.
The settlement with the three publishers, agreed in April, enjoined the publishers to terminate the Apple agency agreements, not to enter into any contracts that prevent retailers from setting their own e-book prices for a two-year period, and not to “enter into any agreement with an e-book retailer relating to the sale of e-books that contains a price Most Favoured Nation”.
Macmillan, Penguin and Apple rejected the terms of the settlement and face trial on 3rd June 2013.
The DOJ received 868 public comments to the proposed settlement, with nearly 70 in favour of the settlement and the remainder opposing it. “Most of these came from publishers, authors, agents and bookstores that acknowledged an interest in higher retail e-book prices,” the DoJ noted.