Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. slipped more than 4 percent on Friday as investors continue to believe that Amazon.com will be become a bigger threat in the e-book marketplace now that the federal government has reached a settlement with three publishers on allegations that colluded to raise e-book prices.
THE SPARK: The Justice Department and 15 states sued Apple Inc.
and major book publishers Wednesday, alleging they worked together to
raise the price of electronic books. They said the scheme cost consumers
more than $100 million in the past two years by adding $2 or $3,
sometimes as much as $5, to the price of each e-book. The federal
government reached a settlement with three of the publishers, Hachette,
HarperCollins and Simon & Shuster.
THE BACKGROUND: The government claims that publishing executives
wanted to get Amazon.com, which makes the Kindle e-book readers, to
raise the $9.99 price it had set for the most popular e-book titles,
because that was substantially below their hardcover prices. Amazon
called the settlement ""a big win for Kindle owners, and we look forward
to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books."