If you haven’t heard of Oyster, the most apt way to describe it is as “the Netflix for books,” allowing users to pay a monthly subscription fee for access to its catalog of over 1 million digital titles. On Wednesday, the company launched what it is calling Oyster 2.0, which includes a full eBook store that might stand a chance of rivaling Amazon’s ubiquitous storefront. More →
Apple may still deny that it ever fixed the prices of eBooks, but that’s not stopping some of the company’s alleged co-conspirators from settling with the federal government. Per MacRumors, publishers Macmillan and Penguin have followed in the footsteps of Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster and have submitted a settlement in the price-fixing case for court approval. If the proposal is accepted and integrated with earlier settlements, then customers who bought books on the Apple iTunes bookstore between April 1st, 2010 and May 21st, 2012 would receive a $3.06 refund per New York Times bestseller bought and $0.73 for all other eBooks bought.
The United States Department of Justice has given Apple its first offer to settle charges that it led a conspiracy to rig eBook prices. The DOJ on Friday said that it wanted Apple to “terminate its existing agreements with the five major publishers with which it conspired” and to “also for two years allow other e-book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble to provide links from their e-book apps to their e-bookstores, allowing consumers who purchase and read e-books on their iPads and iPhones easily to compare Apple’s prices with those of its competitors.” Despite its continued insistence that it’s done nothing wrong, Apple is likely to settle with the DOJ at some point, especially since some analysts think the company could get hit with $500 million in damages if it keeps holding out.
Amazon will reportedly launch a new version of its Kindle eBook reader later this year that features a color display with a capacitive touch panel. Citing multiple unnamed sources within Amazon’s supply chain, Digitimes on Thursday reported that Amazon is currently beginning to place parts orders for the new Kindle, which will launch some time in the second half of 2012. The site also claims Amazon will likely make use of new color display panels from E Ink, and TPK Holding Company will supply the multi-touch panels. Digitimes reported in February that Amazon’s color eReader would launch as soon as March, however the company has yet to unveil any such product. More →
The Free Software Foundation has created a campaign in an effort to eliminate digital rights management (DRM) and embrace DRM-free media. “While DRM has largely been defeated in downloaded music, it is a growing problem in the area of eBooks, where people have had their books restricted so they can’t freely loan, re-sell or donate them, read them without being tracked, or move them to a new device without re-purchasing all of them,” the campaign’s website reads. “They’ve even had their eBooks deleted by companies without their permission. It continues to be a major issue in the area of movies and video too.” The foundation is hoping to raise awareness surrounding what it views to be a growing problem, and it scheduled the “International Day Against DRM” protest for May 4th as a result. A list of local events can be found on the group’s website. More →
Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader business is expected to see continued growth and was recently spun off into a new subsidiary that Microsoft invested $300 million in. The company’s CEO William Lynch sat down with Fortune and spoke about the future of the Nook business, and the executive said NFC-equipped Nook eReaders will be released as early as this year. “We’re going to start embedding NFC chips into our Nooks,” the CEO said. “We can work with the publishers so they would ship a copy of each hardcover with an NFC chip embedded with all the editorial reviews they can get on BN.com. And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience. That’s coming, and we could lead in that area.” More →
Microsoft and Barnes & Noble on Monday announced the formation of a new partnership that will spin the bookseller’s digital Nook and College businesses into a new unnamed subsidiary. Microsoft’s investment of $300 million will bring it a 17% stake in the newly formed business, which is valued at $1.7 billion, and Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new company. “The formation of [this new subsidiary] and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.” Share of Barnes & Noble stock surged 80% in pre-market trading on the news. Barnes & Noble’s full press release follows below. More →
Barnes & Noble on Tuesday announced that its new Nook Simple Touch eBook reader will begin shipping ahead of schedule over the next week. The bookseller unveiled its new Nook eReader earlier this month, and the response has been positive thus far. BGR reviewed the original Nook Simple Touch and found it to be a terrific device, though Amazon’s Kindle ecosystem posed the eReader’s biggest hurdle. The new Simple Touch model is very similar to the earlier version, however it includes a new “GlowLight” display that allows users to read in the dark without sacrificing the clarity and look of the E Ink display. Strong demand for the new Nook will result in a limited supply, but Barnes & Noble said that pre-orders placed on its website will ship in time for Mother’s Day. Amazon is reportedly preparing to launch its own front-lit eReader in the coming months, as well as a new model with a color E Ink display. Barnes & Noble’s full press release follows below. More →
Apple wants to go to trial to defend itself against allegations made the United States government surround a price-fixing scheme, Reuters reported on Wednesday. “Our basic view is that we would like the case to be decided on the merits,” Apple lawyer, Daniel Floyd, told U.S. District Judge Denise Cote. “We believe that this is not an appropriate case against us and we would like to validate that.” The Department of Justice last week accused the Cupertino-based company and five book publishers of conspiring to fix electronic book prices through Apple’s iBookstore. According to the DOJ’s case, Apple agreed in 2010 to allow some of the top book publishers to set their own prices. Since then, prices have risen and other online retailers such as Amazon have been under pressure from publishers to raise their discounted prices as well. The Justice Department claims Apple colluded with Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Group and Macmillan to control prices. The the next hearing in the trial is scheduled for June 22nd. More →
In a filing with the United States district court for southern New York, Apple claims the Department of Justice has its story all wrong. The Justice Department filed an antitrust suit against Apple and multiple book publishers earlier this week alleging that the group colluded to fix the prices of electronic books. In a recently released document filed with the court on Wednesday, Apple’s counsel addressed the charges by claiming the DOJ has its story backwards — Apple wasn’t working with publishers to fix eBook prices, it was breaking Amazon’s “monopolistic grip” on the eBook market and the publishing industry. Read on for more. More →
The United States Department of Justice is likely to lose its antitrust lawsuit targeting Apple and book publishers, according to a report from CNET. A number of legal experts agree that the case against the Cupertino-based company isn’t as strong as the one against publishers. The DOJ “has a far better case against the publishers than Apple,” said Dominick Armentano, professor and author of Antitrust and Monopoly. “If the CEOs of the various publishers got together in hotel rooms to discuss prices, they are sunk” and might as well settle, he said. Within the 36-page complaint, the Justice Department recounts how publishers met over breakfast in a London hotel and during dinners at a Manhattan restaurant to discuss price-fixing. Apple did not attend those meetings, however. More →
Barnes & Noble may be looking to beat Amazon to the market with an eReader that includes a front-lit E Ink display. The Digital Reader on Wednesday posted an image of a purported advertisement for an unannounced Nook Simple Touch that features screen technology Barnes & Noble highlighted as “GlowLight.” The new Nook is said to have a lighting mechanism embedded over its E Ink screen that will evenly distribute light across the display surface. Further details regarding price or a release date are unavailable, however The Digital Reader suggest a Thursday, April 12th launch is possible. The full Nook Simple Touch advertisement seen below. More →
The United States government has filed an antitrust suit against Apple, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Penguin alleging that the companies conspired to fix electronic book prices. Reports surfaced more than a month ago suggesting that the Department of Justice had launched an investigation into whether or not Apple had colluded with publishers to raise the prices of eBooks sold through Apple’s iBookstore. According to Bloomberg, an antitrust suit was filed by the government on Wednesday in a New York district court. More →