Consumers interested in finding out what will happen in the anti-trust lawsuit against Apple and two large publishing houses will have a little longer to wait. A judge on the case set the trial date at June 3, 2013. The case will be a bench trial, meaning there will be no jury hearing the evidence, only the judge on the case, U.S. District Judge Deborah Cote. In other timeline news, the three publishers who were previously named in the lawsuit but have since settled with the Department of Justice and the state governments—Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins—are on course to have their settlement terms finalized by the end of the summer.
A lot of the sentiment behind the investigation and resulting lawsuit was that Apple conspired with five of the Big Six publishers to edge out Amazon by forcing the adoption of agency model pricing. This would mean that Amazon could no longer sell the publishers’ bestselling titles in digital form for its advertised $9.99. In an interesting note, Apple has contended that by working with those publishers to artificially raise the prices of ebooks and force Amazon to do the same, they were actually improving the digital publishing industry by causing Amazon and other retailers to continually improve the e-reading technology.
Also named in the lawsuit were Macmillan and Penguin, although those publishers are not part of any settlement agreement and do not admit any wrongdoing. An attorney general from Connecticut told Reuters that he felt like all fifty states, all commonwealths, and all US territories would be signing the settlement; some estimates of the cost to consumers as a result of the price increase on ebooks are as high as $250 million.