Three of the five publishers named in the class-action lawsuit and the Department of Justice investigation and suit against Apple and Penguin, Macmillan, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins have already settled out of court with the DoJ, but today the judge on the case took another of those three publishers out of the class-action suit.
Simon & Schuster made a deal following HarperCollins and Hachette’s lead. Agreements have been reached with the attorneys general from the states involved in the suit and Judge Denise Cote took Simon & Schuster out of the proceedings. Those states that originated the legal workings were originally only sixteen, but more states joined in the complaints and soon brought the number to twenty-nine.
The terms of the settlements have not been disclosed and the publishers certainly aren’t talking, but some estimates claim that the alleged price fixing cost the reading consumers approximately $250 million, an amount that the lawsuits are hoping to come close to recovering.
So far, the only holdouts in these proceedings are Apple, Penguin Group, and Macmillan. Those three claim there was no wrongdoing and that the ebook industry’s switch to an agency model for pricing rather than the previously existing wholesale model was purely the result of the evolution of the industry. The plaintiffs, however, argue that there were secret meetings and deals made so that the defendants could edge out Amazon’s 90% share of the ebook market; since the switch to agency pricing, Amazon’s control of the market has dropped to sixty percent.