CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – The Justice Department has threatened to sue Apple and five other major publishers for allegedly colluding to raise the price of e-books.

The publishers expected to be named in the lawsuit are HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster (owned by CBS), according to the Wall Street Journal.

KCBS’ Matt Bigler Reports:

Apple and the other companies have not responded to requests for comment.

Several of the publishers have reportedly entered discussions with regulators to head off an expensive antitrust court battle. A settlement would likely impact other publishers not connected to the suit, according to analysts.

The Justice Department action comes after another suit filed against Apple and e-book publishers last year that alleged the companies forced consumers to pay higher prices because of an “agency model” where publishers set their own e-book prices, rather than a traditional wholesale model.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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