What Price Collusion?

Andrew AlbaneseWhere Judge Denise Cote has already found that Apple and a cohort of leading publishers conspired to fix e-book prices, she must now rule on the damages due consumers.

“The damages model was created for the plaintiffs by a team led by Roger G. Noll, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Stanford University,”Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer and author of The Battle of $9.99, tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“On average, Noll put ‘the effect of collusion’ at about 19.9%. In other words, he holds that consumers overpaid for e-books by about 20% due to the collusion,” Albanese notes.

According to these latest calculations, total damages against Apple over fixing e-book prices stand at more than $307 million. Whether you think the figure is a windfall for readers and retailers, or a draconian and unjustly vengeful, likely depends on whether you are Apple – or not.

“It is unclear what percentage of those damages could ultimately be assessed to Apple following a damages trial. Suffice it to say it is a big number— considering that Judge Denise Cote can potentially triple the final damage award,” Albanese says. “And notably, as Apple attorneys pointed out in a letter filed this week, that number is 40% higher than the $218 million number the sides were using just three months ago.”

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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