Fans of e-books, pay attention: You could be in for a slice of a $69 million settlement, pending a judge’s acceptance of a nationwide anti-trust settlement. “No one is saying that publishers … should not derive a fair profit,” said Scott Mulford, a spokesman in the Illinois attorney general’s office, “but when it gets into getting behind closed doors and basically agreeing upon what people who should be in a competitive mode will charge the unsuspecting public, that’s when you run into problems with the law.”
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Attorneys general nationwide reached a tentative settlement with publishers HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, and Hachette. Complaints remain pending against two others, Macmillan and Penguin Group. Mulford says not only did the offenders conspire to fix prices, but they also withheld the release of e-books so as to protect the profits of their ink-on-paper product.