From The Inquirer

Apple and five publishers will be investigated by the European Union (EU) over anti-competitive practices in the ebook market.

The European Commission (EC) will investigate Apple, Hachette Livre, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck, focusing on alleged illegal agreements restricting competition in the EU.

The Commission is also examining the character and terms of the agency agreements entered into by the five publishers and retailers for the sale of ebooks.

The EC said in a statement, “The opening of proceedings means that the Commission will treat the case as a matter of priority. It does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.” It added, “The Commission has concerns, that these practices may breach EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union – TFEU).

(Via EU opens ebooks investigation of Apple and five publishers – The Inquirer)


  1. It’s about time somebody did this!

    Once the A5, ( later the A6), was formed, even prices of older books went up and they went up by some astounding numbers and to the same amount on all selling platforms. If you want to hunt for an older book, looking to find a bargain somewhere, you are just plain out of luck.

    Without Fail by Lee Child 2008 price 6.39, today 9.99 (a 63% increase on a nearly 4 year old book…REALLY? what happened to that “we’re going to reduce prices once the book is released in paperback” promise the Agency5/6 publishers spread around?)

    Handle With Care 2-09 price 9.99, today 12.99
    Lost City of Z 3-09 price 9.99, today 11.99

    There are lots more on my Wish List. The truth is, I will not purchase these books until the prices go back down. Since there seems to be little hope in that, I’ve begun to reduce my Wish LIst by borrowing these older, over-priced e-books from the library in audio form instead. So far, since January 2011, I’ve knocked 19 books off my Wish List by listening to them for free. All of them were books for which I would have gladly paid a reasonable amount to purchase the e-book.

  2. What’s even more egregious is the fact that some of the ebooks are more expensive than the remaindered books, both PB and hardback, of the same title.

    The publishers must think that the reading public are idiots, while in actuality they are the idiots for never learning from the music and movie industries.

    Like January, I too have a wish list on both Amazon and Kobo, and I refuse to buy any of the titles which are over $9 or greater than the paperback price. Unlike January I am usually able to get the book/ebook for free if the price is what I consider to be unfair. I will wait it out until it drops in price or I find it on the (under)net.

The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail