Amazon Faces Ebook Price-Fixing Charges

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A new class action lawsuit alleges that Amazon has unlawfully colluded with publishers to fix ebook prices, reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer.

The unusual antitrust suit – all of the so-called Big Five publishers are labelled as co-conspirators,  though not as defendants – was filed by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman.

Amazon Faces E-Book Price-Fixing Charges

“If that name rings a bell, it should—Hagens Berman is the same firm that filed the first e-book price-fixing lawsuit against Apple and five of the then-Big Six publishers in August 2011,” Albanese points out.

“We all remember how that case turned out – with a federal antitrust suit, and similar claims from 33 states. In the end, the publishers settled those claims for $166 million in consumer rebates. A year later, Apple lost at trial and paid out a $450 million settlement.”

There are still further echoes of the 2011 case in the 2020 suit, Albanese tells CCC.

“The state of Connecticut earlier this month revealed it has opened its own investigation into the e-book market,” he explains. “This is the way the last suit began – with news of a state investigation; rumors of Federal Trade Commission involvement; and then, a consumer class action suit from Hagens Berman.”

Christopher Kenneally

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's podcast, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.

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