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Justice Dept. looking into ebook pricing by Apple, publishers

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The U.S. Justice Department confirmed that it’s conducting an antitrust investigation into the pricing of electronic books, the latest antitrust watchdog to probe whether there was improper collusion by publishers and Apple to prevent discounting, reports the “Wall Street Journal” (http://macte.ch/pdROi).

At a congressional hearing, Sharis Pozen, the Justice Department’s acting antitrust chief said they were also investigating the electronic book industry. Apple’s iBookstore features books from major and independent publishers. Once you’ve bought a book — or download a free one — it’s displayed on your Bookshelf. Just tap it to start reading.

Also, on Tuesday it was announced that Apple and five publishers — Hachette Livre, Penguin, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck — will be investigated by the European Union’s anti-trust watchdog. over anti-competitive practices in the e-book market, reports the “BBC” (http://macte.ch/PbSg0).

The Commission will focus on alleged illegal agreements restricting competition in the EU. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading has already carried out a similar inquiry. The character and terms of agreements that the companies made with agencies are to be examined for breaches of EU rules on cartels, notes the “BBC.”

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