Penguin settles with US Justice Department on ebook price fixing

Penguin said today that it had reached a settlement with the US Justice Department in the ebook price fixing case brought against the company.  The decision to settle was heavily influenced by the planned merger of Penguin and Random House.

Penguin maintains that it did nothing wrong when it entered into agency pricing agreements with Amazon and other retailers.  The company contends that the agency pricing model increases competition and benefits consumers and authors.

Things are starting to get pretty lonely for Apple and Macmillan.  The US Justice Department originally sued five book publishers and Apple over ebook price fixing.  Four of the publishers have now settled, leaving Apple and Macmillan the only remaining two defendants in the case.

Everyone should be hoping that Apple and Macmillan decide to continue their fight and ultimately win the case.  If they lose it will almost guarantee a monopoly for Amazon in ebooks which would be very bad news for libraries, authors and readers.