According to a recent revelation by unidentified ‘inside’ sources familiar with the proceedings at the US Department of Justice (DoJ), the department is close to finalizing a settlement with three bigwig publishers on e-book price agreements with Apple.
Despite the fact that the talks are still private and the situation can possibly change any time, the sources have revealed on the condition of anonymity that the DoJ may work out an e-book pricing settlement with the three publishers - News Corp.’s HarperCollins, CBS’ Simon & Schuster, and Lagardère SCA’s Hachette Book Group – as early as next week.
However, the sources also added alongside that the settlement could probably be delayed by the DoJ officials till they reach a deal with two other publishers - Pearson’s Penguin Group, and Macmillan, owned by Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH – that have not shown much inclination towards the settlement.
Reporting the present status of the ‘still private’ talks between DoJ and the three publishers, a Wall Street Journal report said that the materializing of the settlement would imply Apple’s failure in working out an agreement with the regulators probing the charges of price-fixing for e-book titles.
In case the settlement between the DoJ and the publishers works out, Amazon. com and other retailers will get an opportunity to offer lower prices for digital versions of books. Hence, to offer any worthwhile competition to these retailers, Apple will have to match their lower prices, which may, in some cases, spell a loss for the company on each book!