Washington, DC (USA Today) -- Apple could face a lawsuit as soon as today from the Department of Justice over allegations of e-book price fixing, reports Reuters and Bloomberg.
Both reports cite "people familiar with the matter."
According to Reuters, several book publishers are expected to settle this week. Bloomberg has more specifics, reporting Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group and HarperCollins were the publishers preparing to settle. Apple and book publishers Macmillan and Penguin Group are poised for a potential court battle.
The Justice Department is probing whether Apple and book publishers colluded over the price of e-books for the iPad, says Bloomberg.
Apple, the Justice Department and all five book publishers declined comments to both outlets.
The threat of a lawsuit arrives as the digital book business continues to surge. As Bloomberg notes, sales of e-books generated nearly $970 million in 2011.
And it's expected to grow bigger. A study from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project says one in five Americans read an e-book last year, while the percentage of those owning an e-reader nearly doubled during the holiday season.