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Page last updated at 09:36 GMT, Thursday, 12 April 2012 10:36 UK

US has 'strong case' against Apple's e-books


The US government suing the technology giant Apple and some major book publishers, over the price of electronic books.

Tim Coates, former managing director of WH Smith and Waterstones, and founder of e-books sales and lending site Bilbary, told the Today programme's Simon Jack that he thought the US government had "a very strong case" against Apple.

He disagreed that this was good for competition in the books markets and said that the "economics of the e-book industry is quite different to the print industry" because costs are the same up until first copy but after that e-books incur none of costs of printing and distribution.

"So customers should get the book at the around half the price of a printed book," he said.

"There is no question that publishing would be restricted if there were more competition for the retailing of books... it just isn't true," he continued.

On the future of e-books, Mr Coates said that the price of e-books will come down and a lot more people will use them but it is still "a tiny fraction" of book market as a whole.

"There will be a correction in the retailing market as there has been in America... but there is not a fundamental problem with the market," he added.

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