“Barnes & Noble has come out firing against the U.S. government’s proposed settlement of an e-book price-fixing lawsuit,” Michael Krey reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “The settlement, proposed in April, is with three big book publishers: HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette.”

“Apple and two other big publishers — Macmillan and Penguin Group — didn’t settle and are fighting the Justice Department’s antitrust suit, which charges they colluded to raise e-book prices, looking to break Amazon.com’s dominance,” Krey reports. “The proposed settlement would harm consumers and help one company only, says B&N — Amazon.com.”

“Key to the issue is something called the ‘agency model,’ which lets publishers set the price of e-books, which they share with e-book sellers such as Apple, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Apple’s cut is 30%, according to the DOJ, but that apparently was less than what Amazon was getting under different arrangements it had with publishers,” Krey reports. “‘This new regulatory regime will injure innocent third parties, including Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, authors, and non-defendant publishers; hurt competition in an emerging industry; and ultimately harm consumers,’ B&N said in its filing. ‘The proposed settlement seeks to end agency arrangements that are commonplace in many industries and that have brought more competition to the sale of e-books.'”

Krey reports, “B&N’s complaint begins: ‘The proposed settlement represents an unprecedented effort by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice … to reject its traditional role of ending alleged collusion and to become instead a regulator of a nascent technology industry that it little understands.’ B&N says in its filing that as a result of moving to the agency model, Amazon’s share of e-book sales has fallen to 60% from 90%.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we’ve said from the very beginning of this fiasco: “The U.S. DOJ is plainly inept.”

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