Pearson to pay out $75m in damages over eBook pricing

(Source: Reuters)

Publisher Penguin (owned by Pearson) has agreed to pay $75m in consumer damages plus cost and fees, and agreed to return to the old model of eBook pricing. The firm said that it made a $40m provision for the settlement in its 2012 accounts.

The news follows accusation of all major book publishers by US authorities. Claims suggested that there was collusion with Apple over eBook pricing in 2010 when the iPad launched. Apple was alleged to have convinced all the publishers to agree a system in which the publishers set eBook prices themselves rather than letting sellers (such as Amazon) set prices.

Publishers feared Amazon was selling at a short term loss and gaining too much of the market, then abusing its dominance to force down their prices. Other publishers reached settlements earlier in the year. Apple still strongly oppose these claims. eBook prices may fall as a result.