The so-called “Big Five” publishers are now named as defendants in a consumer class action lawsuit that alleges a conspiracy with Amazon to fix prices in the e-book market, Publishers Weekly reports.

The news comes after the initial complaint, first filed in the Southern District of New York on January 14 by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman, portrayed the Big Five publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster—as “co-conspirators” in a bid to restrain competition in the e-book market, but had named only Amazon as a defendant.

“The attorneys for the plaintiffs have said only that they look forward to proving what they see as a major e-boom price-fixing scam,” Andrew Albanese, PW senior writer, says.

“The case so far boils down to an allegation that the price-fixing happens through the use of a ‘Most Favored Nation’ (MFN) clause in all publishers’ contracts with Amazon that effectively ensures Amazon cannot be undersold,” he tells CCC.

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior 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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