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Another Trial Pending In E-Book Price Collusion Lawsuit

A man reads an e-book.

Photo: Martin Gommel (Flickr)

A man reads an e-book.

And a federal judge has ruled Apple conspired with major U.S. publishers to artificially raise the prices of electronic books, but the Indiana Attorney General’s office says damages won’t be determined until a separate trial.

Indiana was one of 32 states that filed suit against Apple in April 2012 after a two-year federal probe indicated the company had colluded with e-book publishers to raise prices.

“After the agreement was made, retailers were no longer free to set the prices of the books,” says Terry Tolliver, Deputy Director of Consumer Protection for Indiana Attorney General’s Office. “The publishers set those prices, and it was actually a good deal for the publishers because they ended up making more money, but the flip side of that was consumers ended up spending more money for these books.”

Before, Tolliver says competitor Amazon had offered many bestsellers for $9.99.

A district court judge in New York found that Apple helped orchestrate the conspiracy, which played a key role in its success.

In a statement, Attorney General Greg Zoeller says it’s important that e-book merchants be held accountable and states continue to protect the rights of consumers in the marketplace.

Customers will eventually receive damages in the form of a credit to their online account, Tolliver says.

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