The U.S Department of Justice has joined its counterparts in the European Union in looking into the pricing of e-books. A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed that the agency’s probe was concerned with the possible “anticompetitive practices involving e-book sales.”
The news comes on the heels of European regulators’ announcement of an investigation into five of the largest international publishers—Hachette Livre, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, and Macmillian—and Apple for possible “illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition.”
Although details of the DoJ’s probe haven’t been disclosed, some speculate the effort will likely follow along the lines of the European investigation. Regulators there are trying to determine if publishers illegally worked together to raise prices on e-books by changing how they are sold.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. Justice Department, European regulators, and attorneys general in Connecticut and, reportedly, Texas are trying to determine if such pricing practices harm market competition and, ultimately, consumers.
Justice Department investigates e-book pricing [Los Angeles Times]