Andrew AlbaneseIn closing arguments in the Department of Justice case charging Apple with price-fixing for e-books, attorneys for the government and the computing giant offered contrasting views of what it takes to make a conspiracy.

“Apple lead counsel Orin Snyder was emphatic,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “Apple, he said, did not conspire to fix the prices of e-books. Snyder further accused U.S. attorneys of twisting a ‘standard, lawful business negotiation’ into an illegal conspiracy. In fact, Apple’s actions were ‘pro-competitive.'”

Of course, the DOJ made its own equally assertive declarations, Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “What was the conspiracy? To raise e-book prices, said U.S. attorney Mark Ryan. To prove its conspiracy, the government only had to show that the defendants’ accepted an invitation—and that invitation was, “I’ll fix your Amazon problem.'”

And while Apple waits for a decision from Judge Denise Cote — expected in weeks — the rest of us can get the inside story in a just-released e-book, The Battle of $9.99, written by Albanese and published by Publishers Weekly. Based on voluminous evidence gathered for Apple’s trial, The Battle of $9.99 is the story of how corporate titans fought it out behind the scenes and why the case matters to anyone who has ever bought an e-book.

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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