If you’re a science fiction or fantasy fan, and you own an iPad, Android tablet, or other e-reader device, you owe it to yourself to check out the second annual Humble eBook Bundle, with a fantastic selection of genre books ready to go, DRM-free. Oh, and you can pay what you want for them, as well. Which includes, “nothing,” you skinflint.
For the past few weeks, Apple has been battling the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) over e-book pricing. The federal antitrust trial revolves around the DOJ’s accusation that Apple conspired with the country’s five biggest publishers to raise prices on e-books and stifle competition with Amazon.
Apple’s face for the trial has been its head of software and services, Eddy Cue. The trial has revealed some tidbits concerning Steve Jobs and the early negotiations surrounding the iBookstore. The trial ends today, but the court’s sentence for Apple has yet to be decided.
Eddy Cue is at the Daniel Patrick Moynihan United States Courthouse in lower Manhattan testifying in the Department of Justice’s e-books antitrust case, and he’s been sharing more information on the work that went into developing iBooks prior to its launch in 2010.
Cue reveled that Steve Jobs, then Apple’s CEO, chose to give away a free copy of Winnie-the-Pooh not just because he liked the book, but because its colorful illustrations showcased the capabilities of digital e-books in the iBooks app.
iBooks has been a big successful venture for Apple — despite the ongoing price fixing case from the Department of Justice — but it’s a service that may never have been if Eddy Cue hadn’t convinced Steve Jobs it would be awesome on the iPad.
Before Apple was gearing up to launch its popular tablet in late 2009, Steve Jobs wasn’t interested in the iBooks idea, and he felt e-books had no place on desktops and small smartphone displays.
Today, the fourth day of the Apple e-book anti-trust trial taking place in New York, Google’s director of strategic partnerships testified as a government witness. Thomas Turvey, under cross examination from Apple lawyer Orin Snyder, told the court that while the publishers named in the original suit had told him that they had moved to an agency model due to deals with Apple, he also acknowledged that his lawyer had helped him draft his own statement for the court, and that he was unsure of the details within the statement.
In other words, the exact opposite of what a credible witness says.
According to Russel Grandinetti, vice president for Kindle content at Amazon, publishers involved with the e-book anti-trust federal case told the Seattle-based retailer that unless Amazon agreed to their terms, it would have been barred from releasing e-books on the same day as print on Kindle, the wildly popular e-reader device that Amazon sells.
Grandinetti testified today that this ultimatum to switch to an agency model of publishing, in which the publishers set book pricing, came after the publishing houses made deals with Apple for their then new iBooks e-book service on the iPad.
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.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s case against Apple has gotten underway in New York. The DOJ has accused Apple of colluding with publishers to raise the price on eBooks.
To start the trial off, the DOJ has released an 81-page slide deck containing its opening statements against Apple. The trial is expected to run for about three weeks, and both sides gave their opening arguments today.
The DOJ’s 81-page document includes a number of email between Apple execs, as well as sections of Walter Isaacon”s biography of Steve Jobs.
You can search through the DOJ’s opening arguments after the break:
With iBooks on your iPhone or iPad (or iPad mini, my favorite reading device), you can download electronic books from the convenient privacy of your very own iOS device. You never need to enter a bookstore again (sorry, Barnes & Noble!), making purchases of guilty pleasures and important intellectual tomes equally simple.
A real bookstore, though, lets you browse through the books before you buy them. Heck, you can pick one off the shelf, riffle through the pages, and even (gasp!) read some of it without paying for the book. iBooks has a way to allow you to see inside a book before purchasing it, as well, and I can’t believe I keep forgetting that the feature is there.
If you’re like me, and constantly forget about sample iBooks, here’s your reminder.
Innocent until proven guilty? Not for Cupertino. Apple’s e-book antitrust trial starts on June 3rd, but the U.S. District Judge in charge of the case is already openly expressing her belief that Apple engaged in a conspiracy.
Penguin announced this morning that the company has reached an agreement with the US State Attorneys General to pay $75 million as a settlement for the eBook price fixing claims that have been launched against Apple’s iBookstore.
US authorities have called Apple out for collusion with electronic book publishers, saying that the Cupertino-based company conspired with publishers to raise eBook prices when negotiating iBooks by playing them all against each other and against rival eBook retailer, Amazon.
Here’s Penguin’s official statement on the settlement:
According to Reuters, US authorities have called Apple out for collusion with electronic book publishers, saying that the Cupertino-based company conspired with publishers to raise eBook prices when negotiating iBooks by playing them all against each other and against rival eBook retailer, Amazon.
The US Justice Department accused Apple of price fixing in April 2012 in relation to Apple’s negotiations with five publishers when it was launching the iPad in early 2010. The Justice Department has settled out of court with each of the publishers, which included HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, and Pearson’s Penguin Group.
Apple has been ordered to compensate three Chinese writers for infringing their copyrights when it made their books available on the App Store without first seeking their permission. The Cupertino company will pay more than ¥730,000 ($118,000) for the infringement.
Last year, Apple was hit with an antitrust case from the U.S. Department of Justice over the pricing scheme of e-books in Apple’s iBookstore. Since that time, 11 executives at Apple have already been deposed over the issue, but the Department of Justice is demanding Tim Cook be involved, and they just got their way.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote granted the Justice Department’s request to get Cook to testify on the ebook antitrust case for four hours.
Walter Isaacson, the author of the best-selling biography about Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, will not have to share his notes or testify in an ongoing lawsuit over alleged eBook price fixing between Apple and book publishers.
Lawyers wanted to see Isaacson’s notes from interviews with Jobs in an effort to establish Apple’s agreements with publishers, but Isaacson refused to hand them over, citing a New York law that allows journalists to shield their sources.
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Apple’s iBookstore is reportedly heading to Japan this year, finally delivering its popular e-book store to the ever-growing number of Japanese iPad users. The Cupertino company is said to be in the process of negotiating deals with a “handful” of Japanese publishers to supply a local version of their titles at launch.
Apple has been having problems with Chinese writers suing for unlicensed eBook distribution in the App Store. After a group of writers asked Apple for 10 million yuan in damages for unlawfully distributing copyrighted works in certain Chinese apps, the court has forced Apple to pay a smaller settlement fee of 1.03 million yuan, which is only about $165,000.
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Marvin is a neat little e-book reader for iOS – free for now, but likely to cost about $2 by next week. It’s packed with useful features for serious readers and students, plus some ingenious new ideas we’ve not seen in other e-book reading apps.
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The iPad mini is rather perfectly sized for an e-reader: light, easy to hold, super thin. What better way to show off your reading street cred with a set of luxuriously tasty book-themed images? They’re perfectly sized for the iPad mini, with higher resolution options for its larger, more Retina-enabled bigger brothers, too.
After an anti-trust lawsuit was launched by the European Union earlier this year to check whether or not Apple’s e-book pricing is anti-competitive, Apple and four publishers are ready to accept an offer from the EU to end the probe.
The acceptance of the offer hands Amazon a big victory in the battle for e-book pricing in Europe as it opens the door for Amazon to continue to sell online books cheaper than its rivals.
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The US Copyright Office reviews the Digital Millennium Copyright Act every three years, looking at requests to create temporary changes that act as ersatz loopholes int he law, typically to address continually changing technology standards. This year, the Copyright Office allows jailbreaking of devices like the iPhone, but not for devices like the iPad.
The Office also ruled that consumers can unlock phones purchased before January 2013, but not thereafter. You’ll also be albe to bypass encryption on a DVD to use an excerpt in a non-commercial way, like in a documentary, but it will still be illegal to rip a DVD for your iPad.
The rules seem pretty arbitrary, right?