There has been an almost conspicuous lack of comments from the parties involved in the DoJ and class action lawsuits still pending against Apple and some of the Big Six publishers. Obviously, the parties involved cannot simply make outlandish statements while the investigations and court proceedings are still pending, leaving many to wonder what actually took place. Now, Penguin and Macmillan, the two remaining publishers who are going to court to defend themselves against anti-trust violation allegations, have spoken out against Amazon and against the Department of Justice investigation.
“In its papers, Penguin accused Amazon of being ‘predatory’ and a ‘monopolist,’ saying the online retailer’s anti-competitive behaviour was poised to damage the bookselling industry. Penguin added the company was ‘concerned that Amazon’s below-cost pricing strategy for certain new release titles would be detrimental to the long term health of the book industry.'”
In essence, Penguin may appear to be agreeing that it worked together with other publishers to change how ebook pricing was taking place, but that it did so to prevent Amazon from growing into a monopoly.
Macmillan also responded officially:
“[In the absence of] any direct evidence of conspiracy, the government’s complaint is necessarily based entirely on the little circumstantial evidence it was able to locate during its extensive investigation, on which it piles innuendo on top of innuendo, stretches facts and implies actions that did not occur and Macmillan denies unequivocally.”
Macmillan isn’t claiming there’s nothing to the investigation, but it appears rather to be saying that the entire investigation has only turned up a small amount of evidence that has been grown into something more.
Oddly enough, the group who could be speaking out is Random House. It is the sole Big Six publisher that never involved itself in the attacks on Amazon’s pricing, although it has lately been disparaged for its outrageous price increase on ebooks for public libraries. Some articles have even claimed that Random House was mildly harassed for not joining the agency model with Apple and the five other publishers. There could be some valuable insight from this group as to what they were offered or asked.