back to article Penguin pays $75m to settle ebook price-fixing case

Penguin has agreed to hand over $75m along with costs to sort out US antitrust allegations over ebook price fixing. The publisher had already agreed to settle with the Department of Justice and has put the price tag on the deal to pave the way for its merger with Random House. Penguin is the last publisher to settle the case …


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  1. g dot assasin

    Who gets the cash?!

    Can we assume everyone who purchased one of the offending Penguin ebooks will get an even cut of the 75mill?

    Yeah right!!!!

    1. Cthonus

      Re: Who gets the cash?!

      As an ex-bookseller I have soft spot for the Penguin brand and as much as I dislike being ripped off buying ebooks I'd dislike it even more if such well-known publishers went under.

      They may have a retail turnover of £440m (2012 figures) but at least for last year the Grauniad was reporting their operating profit as just £22m.

      I really can't blame any of the remaining UK publishers for jumping on any chance to increase their profitibility given their steady decline since the abolition of the Net Book Agreement. Better value for the consumer? Possibly. More choice for the consumer? Certainly not.

      I'm not sure I'd want to be in a world where the only reading material was either self-published ebooks or mass market tra... novels like Dan Brown's latest. Sure, they have their niche in the marketplace but give me a Penguin Classic any day.

      Yes - please have a level playing field when it comes to [e]book buying, but also, please don't take the golden feathers off the golden goose. Money like that just goes straight into whichever Treasury has jurisdiction and does nothing to help either the reader or the publisher.

      1. Paul Ryan

        Re: Who gets the cash?!

        A good, and legal, way to improve their ebook sales and profits would be to drop the nationality restrictions on their ebooks. There's quite a bit from Penguin owned imprints that I'd love to actually pay for, but they don't want my money because I'm not in the US. Go figure.

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  3. Cubical Drone

    Well duh!!

    "Apple has strenuously denied price-fixing, claiming it acted independently and had used the agency model because it made the best business sense."

    Illegal dealings often make the best business sense, if they didn't you wouldn't need laws against them.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Well duh!!

      My best business sense would be to rob a bank, unfortunally, I am just too lazy, and I would like to act independently too, before and after.

  4. JDX Gold badge

    Does this means Amazon won?

    They were strenuously complaining about publishers fixing prices on Kindle books, meaning they sometimes sold paper copies cheaper than e-books, so does all this mean companies like Amazon now but e-books at an agreed price and can sell them for whatever they want?

  5. JeffyPooh

    I think Apple is in hot water about this and the very-fraudulent tax dodging

    [Makes popcorn, pulls up chair.]

    PS: Tax authorities might want to check out the books of all the less famous companies. I doubt that Apple is the first one to think up this sort of nonsense.

  6. St3n

    If the publishers were worried about money on ebooks, why didn't they just raise the wholesale prices?!?!?

  7. Paul E

    Two wrongs do not make a right..

    Wrong 1: Amazon abuse its position to try bully publishers to try and get a monopoly on e-book sales.

    Wrong 2: Apple persuade publishers to swap to different sales method in such a way that no-one can sell e-books cheaper than apple.

    Difference being Amazon, though probably morally in the wrong did not break any laws.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no wrongdoing...

    I love the hypocrisy: Penguin did nothing wrong, but they'll pay 75 million, oh, just because they like to give away tonnes of cash. And then the DoJ, by pure non-coicidence will approve their merger. Justice at its best.

    oh, by the way, where exactly does this 70 million go to?

    1. wikkity

      Re: no wrongdoing...

      > I love the hypocrisy: Penguin did nothing wrong, but they'll pay 75 million

      While my opinion of Penguin on this matter is probably the same as yours, there are a number of reasons why a cash rich company would pay rather than continuing though the motions, the most obvious one being they thought they'd loose and come off worse in the long run. Same reason say, HTC opened their cheque book to microsoft. Over to you now Eadon.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: no wrongdoing...

      I've been in the board room when the lawyers layout the road in front of you on a litigation issue. In my case the presentation went something like this: 'Right now it's going to cost X just to get started. If they're smart they'll settle quickly. But if we have to press the issue it is going to cost 1.5 to 3X before we get to a point where they might actually settle." And finally "If we have to take it to court it is going to cost 10 to 20X and even though I think we should win, once you get in front of the jury there are no guarantees."

      At which point everybody in the board room has to do a gut check and we were pretty sure ours was a slam dunk case. If you get the option to make the case go away for .5X and your lawyers say you are in an at best 50-50 position on winning, you'll probably take the deal if you don't have to admit guilt.

  9. Trustme

    Apple won't have the book thrown at them

    Judging bythe gushing "We LOVE Apple", "I have all their products" "Even my granddaughter can use them" comments levelled at Apple during their supposed grilling over their tax payments (as shown on the Daily show) I can't see them walking away with anything more forceful than "We're all sure you had a good reason for doing it" from the investigating body!

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