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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Announces Agreement on Publisher E-Book Price Fixing, Case Against Apple Pending

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Texas’ attorney general has reached an agreement with three major publishers regarding e-book price fixing.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has announced the resolution of the multistate antitrust investigation against Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., and Simon & Schuster Inc. Wednesday afternoon.

In the agreement, the trio must modify their product distribution model and refund customers who overpaid for e-books after the major publishing houses conspired to artificially inflate their prices.

The settlement agreements, led by Texas and Connecticut and joined by the attorneys general of 53 states, U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia, must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Also filed by the Department of Justice was an antitrust enforcement civil action against the three settling publishers, charging the defendants with conspiring and agreeing to increase retail e-book prices for all consumers, and agreeing to eliminate e-book retail price competition between e-book outlets.

Texas’ antitrust action against publishers MacMillan and Penguin, as well as Apple, Inc. remains pending, according to a press release.

The publishers will pay affected Texans up to $5.5 million in total compensation, and pay approximately $7.5 million to the states for fees and costs.

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