In New York this week, Judge Valerie Figueredo heard oral arguments on motions to dismiss a consumer class action lawsuit that alleges the Big Five publishers, together with Amazon, have colluded to eliminate price competition from the e-book market.

In 2013, in the so-called “Apple e-books case,” Amazon was the alleged victim of a conspiracy by the major publishers.

Now, Amazon and the Big Five are named as co-conspirators in a suit brought by Hagens Berman, the same firm that first sued Apple.

Click below to listen to the latest episode of the Velocity of Content podcast.

E-Book Price Suit Is “Implausible” Say Amazon, Publishers

“The allegations are that Amazon and the Big Five publishers have conspired to eliminate retail price competition for e-books, specifically through use of Amazon’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) clauses in it contracts with each of the publishers,” reports Andrew AlbanesePublishers Weekly senior writer.

“The allegation is that the publishers each agreed to allow Amazon an MFN, which guarantees that Amazon can’t be underpriced, and in return Amazon’s MFN ensures that none of the publishers will underprice the others,” he tells me.

“Judge Figueredo seemed very much on point in probing both sides over three hours of arguments,” Albanese says. “I’m sure the publishers and Amazon are quite eager to dispatch with a case that they’ve called illogical and implausible from the outset.”


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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