Apple is facing serious questions over the way it’s chosen to price e-books, but one of the firm’s top executives said Thursday that he had to work hard to make the iBooks store happen at all.

CNET reported that Eddy Cue, senior vice president of internet and software services, said in testimony at the Apple e-books trial that his late boss, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, wasn’t originally sold on the idea. According to the report, Cue said that while he thought that company would benefit from having a bookstore for the Mac and iPhone, Jobs didn’t agree.

But after Cue got his hands on the tablet for the first time, he said, he realized that it would be a great opportunity for online reading and pitched his idea again, the report said. Jobs finally agreed and gave his approval to the idea in November 2009 — just months before the iPad was announced in 2010.

Cue is a key figure in the Justice Department's case against Apple, as government lawyers have referred to him as the “ringleader” of the pricing arrangement. The historical tidbit was a surprising aside in his much-anticipated testimony Thursday, in which he denied charges that the tech giant raised prices on e-books in a collusion scheme with other major publishers.

As The Washington Post reported, in late 2009 and early 2010, Apple worked out a deal to allow book publishers rather than retailers to set prices for e-books. Apple got a 30 percent commission from the sales. Publishers later pushed Amazon to convert to a similar model — a move that the Justice Department believes had Apple’s backing.

Federal attorneys, The Post reported, say that prices for e-books rose by as much as $2 to $4 for popular titles.

Related stories:

Apple senior executive defends company at e-book price-fixing trial

Key witness to testify in Apple e-book trial

Apple e-book trial begins with focus on Jobs’s role

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