U.S. District Judge Denise Cote is expected to rule on the Apple ebook price-fixing case later this summer, after hearing three weeks of testimony that exposed the contentious and occasionally embarrassing backstory of Apple’s entry into the digital book business.
In closing statements Thursday, Justice Department attorney Mark Ryan said “Apple directed and oversaw a conspiracy to raise e-book prices and prevent low-price competition,” according to the Washington Post. Apple’s attorney Orin Snyder warned of the verdict’s potentially far-reaching repercussions “The government is taking perfectly sensible business agreements to infer sinister conduct,” he said. “If Apple is found liable . . . that precedent will send shudders throughout the business community.”
Regardless of the judge’s ruling, ebooks are transforming the book industry. In 2009 and 2010, the time of the alleged conspiracy, ebooks’ share of the market was in the mid-single digits. In 2012, digital editions accounted for 20 percent of book sales, with growth of the format showing no signs of slowing down.