David Shanks, CEO of Penguin Books, testified today that a provision in its e-books contract with Apple played a role in its decision to change contracts with other retailers, like Amazon.com, a crucial part of the US government’s case against Apple in the e-book anti-trust case happening now in federal court. Shanks said that the clause in question was “certainly a factor” in seeking out other retailers to an agency model, in which publishers control prices, not retailers, a model Amazon originally flouted.
In the anti-trust case, the US government is charging that Apple conspired with five publishers to fix prices for e-books between 2009 and 2010. Penguin is the first publishing company named in the suit which also includes HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan.
Apple has already gone on record, saying that it was the publishers that came to Apple, not the other way around.