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A federal judge on Thursday approved a settlement in a case accusing publishers of conspiring to raise e-book prices over protests the deal could devastate bookstores, the Wall Street Journal reported.Three publishers agreed to the settlement with the Justice Department, which accused them and two other publishers of using the release of Apple’s iPad to raise e-book prices, according to CNN Money.
Under the settlement, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette will be required to allow big retailers to reduce prices for two years – an arrangement opponents fear could kill bookstores and be a boon to Amazon.
“It’s devastating to bookstores,” Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild, told WSJ.
But Judge Denise Cote essentially said “too bad” when approving the deal, while noting the “birth of a new industry is always unsettling.”
“It is not the place of the court to protect these bookstores,” she said.
Apple was also a defendant in the suit but isn’t part of the settlement and continues to fight the price-fixing allegations. Before Apple’s iPad was released Amazon’s Kindle was the main way consumers could get e-books, CNN Money reported.
Amazon forced publishers to sell the e-books for around $9.99, but after the iPad was released they allegedly began conspiring to raise prices by two to three dollars per book.