The U.S. Government Printing Office now offers reports, documents, and ebooks via Apple’s iBookstore.
In a somewhat ironic move, the U.S. government has entered into an ebook deal with Apple that will see a range of government reports, documents, and ebooks published in Apple’s iBookstore. The partnership, which was announced earlier this week, coincides with the Department of Justice’s latest legal filings in its anti-trust suit against Apple.
The deal with the Government Printing Office (GPO) will make a wide swath of documents and ebooks available through the iBookstore. While some government documents are available for free, a number of documents and full-length ebooks are not.
French publishing and price-fixing laws might have been the model for Apple’s iBookstore price-fixing
One of the ironic twists about the anti-trust lawsuits against Apple and the major publishing companies is that Apple’s entrance into the ebook market actually broke Amazon’s virtual monopoly on the ebook business. In the process, publishers gained the ability to control ebook pricing, which can be seen as actually encouraging competition in the industry.
While the U.S. Department of Justice and attorneys general from many states are pursuing lawsuits around the matter, not every country would see the situation in the same terms as the U.S. government. In France, for example, publishers can legally control pricing and are protected from booksellers undercutting their business as Amazon had been doing with its power over the ebook market. It’s even possible that France’s laws protecting publishers may have served as inspiration for the agency model that Apple used in building the iBookstore.
The U.S. Department of Justice recently accused Apple of conspiring with book publishers to thwart Amazon’s power over eBook pricing. Today Apple has responded saying that “the DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true.”