Utah Joins E-Book Price Fixing Lawsuit

The state of Utah has joined an antitrust lawsuit accusing publishers of fixing e-book prices.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office says Utah has joined 29 other states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia in seeking damages for customers.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, accuses Apple Inc., Penguin Group, Holtzbrinck Publishers and Macmillian Publishers of participating in a price-fixing scheme in violation of federal and state antitrust laws.

The suit claims the publishers artificially raised prices by using a distribution model in which the price for e-book bestsellers was set at $12.99 and $14.99.

The complaint contends the alleged scheme ended retail price competition by requiring all distributors to sell e-books at the same price, and cost e-book customers more than $100 million in overcharges.