This is the VOA Special English Economics Report from voaspecialenglish.com | http The United States government says Apple and five book publishers illegally fixed prices of e-books. Three publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — agreed to a settlement announced April eleventh with the Justice Department. The agreement says they must repay millions of dollars and stop giving Apple special treatment. Attorney General Eric Holder said the department will continue to take legal action against Apple and two additional leading publishers, MacMillan and Penguin. He says Apple and the publishers conspired to increase the prices that consumers pay for e-books. He said the Justice Department wants to make sure Americans can buy e-books at a fair price. The department says Apple and the five publishers made an illegal deal to set higher prices for electronic books. Because of this, it says, Americans paid millions of dollars more than they should have. The dispute centers on the influence of Amazon.com. The Internet store had been selling e-books for nine dollars and ninety-nine cents. But the government says Apple made a deal with the publishers two years ago as it prepared to launch the iPad tablet computer. The deal guaranteed Apple thirty percent of the money earned on each e-book sold. It also created a pricing model that required stores to sell at a price set by the publishers and Apple. The price was several dollars higher than the one offered by Amazon

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