Apple e-book trial: How the case has unfolded so far

Apple's e-book pricing trial has brought its fair share of funny moments and tense exchanges.

The Justice Department, which initially sued Apple and a handful of the nation's largest publishers slightly more than a year ago, contends Apple forced publishers to move to a model that artificially inflated the prices of digital books and hurt consumers. Apple has argued that it wasn't trying to change in the industry and that it was only trying to secure the best deal for itself.

With two weeks down and one week to go, most of the key witnesses have testified. … Read more

Apple's Eddy Cue: Yep, we caused e-book pricing to rise

NEW YORK -- A high-level Apple executive admitted his company's deal with publishers caused some e-book prices to rise, giving weight to the government's accusation that Apple's machinations hurt consumers.

Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet software and services, who took the stand Thursday in district court in lower Manhattan, also said Apple considered splitting the market with Amazon in a setup where Apple would control the music market, while Amazon would monopolize books.

Cue's testimony marks a pivotal point in the trial, in which the Justice Department is attempting to prove that … Read more

Focus, criticism shifts to Amazon in Apple e-book trial

NEW YORK -- Amazon acted like a bully and threatened the publishers when discussing a new e-book sales structure, according to two publishing CEOs who testified during the Apple e-book price-fixing trial over the last two days.

David Shanks, CEO of Penguin Group USA, and Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, said Amazon's e-book pricing, in which the publishers had little power, was the main factor that drove them to pursue deals with Apple that allowed them to set their own prices. But when the publishers attempt to change their agreements with Amazon to fall more in line … Read more

The 404 1,238: Where we open up for Bayside (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Listen to the music of Bayside and check them out at one of their upcoming shows.

- Nick's clothing label is called Born and Bred, and 404 listeners can save 20 percent off all merchandise with code BB404.

- Follow Nick Ghanbarian and Born and Bred on Twitter

Episode 1,238


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Amazon debuts new literary fiction imprint

Continuing its push into creating original content, Amazon has launched a literary fiction imprint dubbed Little A.

The imprint falls under the ambitious publishing unit at the retail giant, Amazon Publishing, led by industry veteran Larry Kirshbaum. Little A will publish novels, memoirs, and story collections. The books distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be published under its New Harvest imprint with both Little A and New Harvest logos.

Little A's first title is "The Blue Book," a novel by Scottish author A.L. Kennedy, that debuted this week. Next week, Jake Arnott's "The House … Read more

Google settles French copyright complaint -- with 60M euros

Google is settling a copyright dispute with French news publishers by dumping 60 million euros ($81.98 million) into a digital publishing fund and agreeing to help publishers make money off online ads.

The search giant's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, posted about the new fund in a blog post today, writing that these two initiatives would "help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers." He didn't provide details of how exactly either effort is supposed to work.

Schmidt didn't mention a settlement in his post, but Google has confirmed that these actions resolve a … Read more

Hearst gives iPad owners early dibs on magazines

Publisher Hearst has a new initiative that gives iPad owners early access to digital versions of its magazines.

Apple today quietly launched a new section in its App Store called "Read them here first," with a listing of Hearst-owned magazines that can be had digitally before they arrive on newsstands or on competing digital platforms.

Hearst has 20 of its titles involved in the program, including Esquire, Car and Driver, and Popular Mechanics. A company spokeswoman said the lead time varies by publication.

The move gives Apple a leg up against competing digital newsstand products, particularly apps Zinio … Read more

Apple, publishers settle in EU e-book antitrust case

Apple and four major publishers have settled a case with European antitrust regulators after negotiations began in September, ending an ongoing row over e-book price fixing.

The iPhone and iPad maker, along with HarperCollins, Hachette Livre, Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck-owned Macmillan, and CBS-owned Simon & Schuster (CNET and ZDNet are also owned by CBS), all agreed to legally binding conditions that would ease pricing restrictions on Amazon and other e-book sellers.

A fifth publisher, Penguin -- owned by U.K. group Pearson -- is still under investigation as the publisher "chose not to offer commitments," but … Read more

News Corp. eyeing HarperCollins merger with Simon & Schuster?

Another merger might be hitting the publishing industry.

News Corp., which owns HarperCollins Publishers, is considering acquiring Simon & Schuster, The Wall Street Journal is reporting today, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the companies' discussions. Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS, the same company that publishes CNET.

At this point, News Corp. hasn't made an offer and a deal "isn't imminent," according to the Journal's sources. However, the move appears to be a response to the recent announcement of a merger between Random House and Penguin Group, two of the larger … Read more

Medium hires former literary agent as director of content

Medium, a publishing platform being developed by Twitter co-founder Ev Williams, has hired a director of content.

Williams announced on his company's blog yesterday that Medium has hired Kate Lee, former literary agent at International Creative Management. Lee left her job at ICM in April, after deciding that she wanted to have some time off. She spent 10 years at ICM and focused heavily on bringing blog writers to the book publishing world.

In her new role at Medium, Lee will serve as director of content, a job that will see her "help get great stuff onto Medium,&… Read more