A U.S. judge granted preliminary approval to a $69-million settlement between 49 states and three U.S. publishers accused of conspiring with Apple to fix the prices of electronic books.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York gave initial approval to the accord with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers and Simon & Schuster Inc. and all the states but Minnesota.
Hachette agreed to pay $31.7 million; HarperCollins, $19.6 million; and Simon & Schuster, $17.8 million, Cote said in an order made public Friday. The judge scheduled a fairness hearing for Feb. 8.
The states had alleged the publishers unlawfully agreed to fix the prices of electronic books, violating U.S. antitrust law. The companies agreed to switch from the "traditional wholesale/retail model of distribution to an agency model with the major retailers of e-books in order to raise and fix the prices of electronic books to consumers," the states said.