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Biographer Walter Isaacson is fighting a subpoena to unlock his unpublished interviews with the late Steve Jobs in the Apple ebook price-fixing case, reports "The Register."
The brouhaha centers on Apple's move to change the way that publishers charged for e-books as it prepared to introduce its first iPad in 2010. Traditionally, publishers sold books to retailers for roughly half of the recommended cover price. Under that "wholesale model," booksellers were then free to offer those books to customers for less than the cover price if they wished.
Apple suggested moving to an "agency model," under which the publishers would set the price of the book and Apple would take a 30% cut. However, Apple also insisted that publishers couldn't let rival retailers sell the same book at a lower price.
Apple has publicly rejected charges that it conspired to fix prices of electronic books, calling the U.S. government's antitrust lawsuit a "fundamentally flawed" endeavor that could discourage competition and harm consumers. In a filing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan earlier this year, Apple said it didn't conspire with anyone or fix prices for e-books to thwart Amazon's dominance of that market, the article adds. In fact, the company says its entry into the book market has actually fueled demand for ebooks by forcing Amazon and rivals, including Barnes & Noble Inc, to compete more aggressively, including by upgrading e-reader technology.
The plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit are trying to get their hands on Isaacson's notes and tape-recorded interviews in case there's more about Jobs' ebook strategy in there that could incriminate Apple. But Isaacson is using a journalism shield law to try to stop his notes being used in court, notes "The Register."
Isaacson's attorney, Elizabeth McNamara, argues that journalists are only supposed to have subpoenas issued on their work as a last resort and not when the case has only just started. She also insists that Isaacson doesn't have any tape-recorded interviews of Jobs chatting about ebooks, so anything he does have would be secondhand knowledge and could therefore be construed as hearsay, notes "The Register."