Competition Bureau reaches settlement with HarperCollins in ebooks case

OTTAWA — The Competition Bureau says it has reached an agreement with publisher HarperCollins which the agency expects will restore retail price competition for ebooks in Canada.

The outcome follows a bureau investigation that concluded an anti-competitive arrangement between HarperCollins and other ebook retailers led to higher prices for Canadian consumers.

The bureau said the consent agreement with HarperCollins follows similar settlements reached with Hachette Book Group, Macmillan Publishers, Simon & Schuster and Apple last January that permit retailers to sell the ebooks they publish at discounts.

HarperCollins had previously asked the Competition Tribunal to dismiss its application and said no such agreement exists, but even if it did, the tribunal would not have the jurisdiction to prohibit it.

The implementation of the publisher’s consent agreement is pending the resolution of Kobo’s challenge of the January 2017 agreements.

As part of the terms of the agreement, HarperCollins will also make a $150,000 charitable donation in ebooks and print books to promote reading in Canada.

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