Economy Briefs

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The comparison excludes free e-books, which would tip the scales further if they were included.

Printed books include both hardcover and paperback books. Amazon said in July that e-book sales had outstripped hardcover sales.

It’s now selling three times as many e-books as it did a year ago.

COURTS

Debt collector sued over robo-signing

NEW YORK — Minnesota sued Encore Capital Group Inc., one of the largest U.S. debt collectors, claiming it using fraudulent “robo-signed” affidavits in collection cases, a practice that critics say also infects home foreclosures.

The lawsuit filed Thursday against Encore’s Midland Funding LLC and Midland Credit Management Inc. units follows a ruling by an Ohio federal judge that Minnesota’s case would not interfere with a $5.2 million class-action settlement of similar claims.

“Midland has perverted the justice system by filing robo-signed affidavits in court and hounding citizens for debt they don’t owe,” Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson said.

Encore Chief Executive J. Brandon Black said in an emailed statement that the company changed its affidavit process in 2009, thinks its practices are “legally sound,” and will work with Ms. Swanson to resolve the matter.

He added that “because 95 percent of consumers ignore letters sent by the company, the legal channel is often the only remaining option.”

Based in San Diego, Encore often buys debt from credit card companies. Through year-end, it had invested about $1.76 billion to buy 33 million accounts with a face value of $54.7 billion, or about 3 cents on the dollar.

CORPORATE FUNDING

Comcast apologizes for cutting off nonprofit

Comcast is apologizing to a Seattle nonprofit called Reel Grrls after a company executive decided to cut off funding to the organization in retaliation for a Twitter posting questioning Comcast’s hiring of Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker.

In a statement, Comcast said Thursday that the decision by Steve Kipp, a vice president of communications based near Seattle, was not authorized by the company and that corporate funding for Reel Grrls is “not in jeopardy.”

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