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Justice reaches settlement with Penguin on e-books

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department says it has reached a settlement with one of the nation’s largest book publishers over charges it conspired with other companies to raise prices for electronic books.

Federal officials say the agreement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc., if approved by a court, would remove the company from the government’s lawsuit against Apple and Macmillan. That trial is to begin in June.

The Justice Department settled earlier with Hachette Book Group, Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc. Federal officials sued in April, saying Apple and several publishers conspired in the fall of 2009 to force e-book prices several dollars above the $9.99 charged by on its popular Kindle device.

E-books are believed to comprise around 25 percent to 30 percent of total book sales.

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