After years of expressing concern about the potential impact that library lending might have on consumer sales, major publishers have good cause to take another look at the library market for ebooks, according to executives from library ebook distributors OverDrive, 3M, and Baker & Taylor. With consumer sales growth slowing, bolstering institutional sales will likely become more of a priority for major publishers. OverDrive CEO Steve Potash noted that publishers, like all for-profit companies, are always looking for growth, and “there’s still a lot a growth in institutions, and there [are] significant opportunities for growth in education…. If retail is flattening, you have to experiment.”
Macmillan on Friday became the last of five major publishers to settle a lawsuit over the pricing of ebooks originally filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and 15 states in April 2012. In an email addressed to “Authors, Illustrators and Agents” Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote that he believed the company had done nothing wrong and could still win the case, but the risk of losing the legal battle had become too high.
Pending the approval of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, $69 million will be awarded to consumers who purchased agency-priced ebooks between April 2010 and May 2012, as part of a proposed settlement of a state antitrust suit filed against HarperCollins, Hachette SA, and Simon & Schuster. Led by the Attorneys General of Connecticut and Texas, 49 states (excluding Minnesota) and 5 U.S. territories had accused the publishers of conspiring to fix ebook prices.
This article has been updated to include information on the state lawsuits and Canadian, publisher statements, and links to the proposed settlement and competitive impact statement, courtesy of Infodocket. The Department of Justice today filed its antitrust suit against Apple, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster over the agency model of ebook pricing. […]
Apple Inc. and the Big Six publishers are facing a widening array of investigations and lawsuits that allege they conspired to illegally fix ebook pricing in an effort to undermine Amazon’s competitive edge.
To his credit, Marwell has made himself highly visible at regional and national conventions in the wake of the 26 loan cap announcement (he was also the only publisher to respond to Francine Fialkoff and Brian Kenney’s editorial last fall about ebooks in libraries).