In April, the U.S. Department of Justice sued Apple and five publishers for alleged price fixing of electronic books, a lawsuit originating from Apple's 2010 launch of the iPad and iBookstore, which publishers hoped would weaken Amazon's ability to discount works so deeply that no other seller could compete. In October, the corporate parents of Random House Inc. and Penguin Group (USA) announced a planned merger, widely believed as a way to counter Amazon.
One of the publishers sued, HarperCollins, settled in the fall and prices for such new works as Michael Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue" dropped from $12.99-$14.99, common under the Apple model, to Amazon's preferred $9.99. But Chantal Restivo-Alessi, HarperCollins' chief digital officer, said there was no noticeable difference in sales, adding that bargain hunters tend to seek out older books.
"With new books, if you want to read that book, you're going to read that book," she said. "You're not going to replace it with a cheaper book."
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