Apple loses appeal of ebooks case ruling, will pay $450 million in damages

A federal appeals court today has upheld the 2013 ruling in Apple’s long-winded and high-profile ebooks case. The case, which centered around Apple price fixing content in the iBooks store, went through three years of litigation thanks mostly to Apple. Today’s ruling by a federal appeals court will see Apple pay $450 million in damages at long last.

Most of that $450 million will go to e-book customers as part of the agreement it made last year. Regarding the ruling, Second Circuit Judge Debra Ann Livingston had the following to say (via WSJ):

“We conclude that the district court correctly decided that Apple orchestrated a conspiracy among the publishers to raise e-book prices,” Livingston explained. The conspiracy “unreasonably restrained trade” in violation of the Sherman Act, the federal antitrust law, she noted. 

Last year, Apple started sending out iTunes Store credits to customers affected by the ebook pricing case, even though its own appeal was still pending at the time. When Apple initiated the appeals process, it explained that the ruling was a “radical departure” from modern antitrust law and that it was ignorant of any inter-publisher price fixing.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Gregory Wright - 8 years ago

    Apple, just transfer the money from your Samsung account.

  2. A fair trial in the US is getting to be as difficult to find as Unicorn poop. Clearly the people bringing down the verdict have a pre-conceived punitive mindset and ignored the facts, including most important, the market at the time, and the results of the supposed collusion.

    Whatever, time to move on. It’ll be Amazon’s turn next in front of the DoJ and European regulators.

  3. rahhbriley - 8 years ago

    No! Man, I realllllllllllllllly thought they could turn this one around. This is BS.

  4. hodar0 - 8 years ago

    And yet, from Day 1 – the cost of a book on iBooks vs Kindle was within $0.01 USD. So, how is this that Apple ALONE is facing a fine, when it appears that multiple online booksellers were working in collusion?

    I own at least 20 books on iBooks, but many more on Kindle for the single reason that Kindle is platform agnostic. Before I bought my Mac, my iPad/iPhone were the only places I could access my iBooks. But, with Kindle I can get the same books, for the same price – and read them anywhere.

    • I’d like to see you read your Kindle Books on a Kobo reader. Maybe try a Sony reader. Oh, that won’t work?

    • thejuanald - 8 years ago

      Several publishers were included in this but they all settled out of court. Apple had the hubris to believe they could beat the charges and went to court. The reason the costs were the same on the kindle and in iBooks is that Apple went to these publishers and colluded to give the publishers the power to control their prices, using the agency model. The publishers were mad because at that point, Amazon had been selling their ebooks at $9.99 for new releases, which severely undercut the cost of hardcover books. Apple wanted to sell books at $14.99, so they took the agency model and . These publishers then went to Amazon and said they will require the same pricing model or they would pull the books from Amazon. Amazon tried to appeal directly to authors to move them away from publisher style models but they eventually had to agree to the new agency model. During this entire time, it is well documented that Apple was in direct contact with all the publishers and had knowledge of their inside dealings with Amazon.

      This is the reason why iBook and kindle book prices were the same once iBook came out. Before that, Amazon had prices that were max 9.99 for new releases of best sellers.

  5. Oh where would we be without gov’t sucking the life force out of everything in the name of “consumer good”. Just imagine all the effort, innovation and man-hours equalling $450 million in actual profits that the gov’t just straight up stole.

    • thejuanald - 8 years ago

      That’s a load.

    • vkd108 - 8 years ago

      Unfortunately in this age of high level cheating, “effort, innovation and man-hours ” are simply buzz-words used to factor massive unfeasible profit. Never satisfied with billions of stinking $$$ they eternally want more, more, more, due to uncontrolled lust and greed.

  6. Christopher Breen - 8 years ago

    can’t they be like Samsung and appeal the appeal of the appeal

  7. vkd108 - 8 years ago

    “Apple started sending out iTunes Store credits ” Puh.

    What value is THAT, when you can listen to most music either for free on Youtube or download from some place or other.

    Apple should be FORCED to offer in first place strict financial compensation, with an OPTION to spend that at the so-called iTunes store ONLY if the customer chooses to.

    Apple are absolutely liable, as judged TWICE by two separate entities. Therefore they should pay their dues and relinquish their stranglehold on innocent, cheated customers who have been unknowingly sucked into Apple’s nefarious money- and power-grabbing insidious working practices.

  8. piablo - 8 years ago

    The government always gets ‘their’ money. This case has nothing to do with ebooks or colluding. It has everything to do with Apple having a bulk of it’s profits LEGALLY outside of the US. And if I had to wager a nickel, I’d bet this also has to do with Apple not paying it’s ‘fair share’ in lobbying. Relative to other corporations Apple contributes next to nothing in lobbying, otherwise known as political kick-forwards.

    So the government always gets their money, even if they have to make up a reason.


Avatar for Chance Miller Chance Miller

Chance is an editor for the entire 9to5 network and covers the latest Apple news for 9to5Mac.

Tips, questions, typos to