Well, wonder no more. Our good friend Apple is to blame.
Apple Inc. conspired to raise the prices of e-books, a judge ruled Wednesday morning, after a trial in which the Department of Justice accused the technology giant of aggressively pressuring publishers to raise prices and weaken Amazon.com.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple is liable for civil antitrust violations, more than two weeks after closing arguments.
“The Plaintiffs have shown that Apple conspired to raise the retail price of e-books and that they are entitled to injunctive relief. A trial on damages will follow,” Cote wrote in her opinion.
In a trial that lasted three weeks, federal prosecutor Mark Ryan argued that when it entered the e-book market in April 2010, Apple offered publishers a way to fight back against Amazon by raising the prices of e-books. Prices went up shortly thereafter, and Apple negotiated 30% of the profits.
The government showed that Apple executive Eddy Cue was in contact via email and phone with representatives of the five publishers who ultimately signed agreements with the company, calls that led the publishers to switch how they distributed and priced their books.
In her ruling, Cote wrote that there is no doubt that publishers conspired to raise the prices of their e-books. They were afraid, she writes, that Amazon’s $9.99 price point for bestsellers would completely upset their business model. But Apple was the ringleader -- publishers had tried to get Amazon to raise prices in 2009 and 2008, and failed by themselves.
“Apple was a knowing and active member of that conspiracy. Apple not only willingly joined the conspiracy, but also forcefully facilitated it,” she writes.
I knew there was something amiss. When I first got my kindle I don’t recall ever paying more than $6 or $7 bucks for a book. The last two books I got from Amazon as part of a series (Iced from the Faefever series and Lover at Last from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series were 13.99 and 11.99 respectively. I was like WTF but I obviously wanted to continue the series so I bit the bullet and got punked on the pricing.
I hope they end up having to refund everyone who paid over $9.99 for an e-book. Fuckers.