Apple Insists They're Totally Not Fixing Any E-Book Prices

In the midst of a lawsuit from the Department of Justice, Apple is all, “What? Who? Us? Price fixing e-books? No! Never!” They issued a statement saying they weren’t involved in conspiring with major publishers to set the price of e-books in an agency model, and that anyway, agency models are a benefit to the industry.

The Washington Post cites their statement, which reads:

The DOJ’s accusation of collusion against Apple is simply not true. The launch of the iBookstore in 2010 fostered innovation and competition, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry. Since then customers have benefited from eBooks that are more interactive and engaging. Just as we’ve allowed developers to set prices on the App Store, publishers set prices on the iBookstore.

After the DOJ filed the lawsuit, three of the five major publishers tangled up in it announced they’d reached a settlement with the government. Those three, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, aren’t allowed to constrain retailer discounts for two years. Penguin and Macmillan say they won’t settle.

It’s not just Apple touting the benefits of the agency model — HarperCollins says after publishers started going that way in 2010, the e-book market “exploded giving consumers more choices” of formats, prices and devices.

The DOJ sees it differently — more of a stranglehold on the market, which could keep prices super high for consumers who might otherwise get a discount from their retailer.

Apple denies Justice charges, says they’re “not true”s [Washington Post]