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Equity & Diversity

Apple, Publishers Playing Monopoly With Digital Books?

By Ian Quillen — April 13, 2012 1 min read

As our business and innovation specialist Jason Tomassini reports, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Apple Inc. and five book publishers over what the department alleges is collusion to artificially inflate e-book prices.

The suit does not name the “Big Three” of educational publishing directly—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, McGraw-Hill, and Pearson—in part because it is concerned with trade (translation: commercial) books and not educational or reference material. Think of it as similar to the difference between bound books likely to be purchased from an individual at a bookstore versus bound books likely to be purchased in bulk by a school, library, or other institution.

Anyway, it’s unclear what, if anything, this will mean for the world of educational e-publishing, but after Apple’s recent move into the e-textbook space, there has already been some clamor suggesting their agreement with the “Big Three” will actually increase costs for schools, rather than provide the savings many e-textbook advocates have promised. Read Jason’s blog for more details.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.