U.S. Justice Department Climbs Aboard E-Book Antitrust Investigation
December 8, 2011 10:11 AM
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Very few details were provided regarding the investigation in the hearing, other than that the probe would look into possible anticompetitive practices in the way of e-book sales
Earlier this week, it was discovered that the
European Commission had launched an antitrust investigation
to determine if international e-book publishers were taking part in anticompetitive practices, and now the U.S. Justice Department is jumping onboard the investigation as well.
The European Commission's investigation specifically targets five e-book publishers who may have been practicing anticompetitive tactics with the help of Apple and its e-book store iBooks. The five publishers in question are Hachette Livre (
Lagardère Publishing France), Harper Collins (News Corp., U.S.A.), Simon & Schuster (CBS Corp., U.S.A.),
(Pearson Group, United Kingdom) and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holzbrinck (owner of inter alia Macmillan, Germany).
Now, the U.S. announced its involvement in the e-books investigation at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
Very few details were provided regarding the investigation in the hearing, other than that the probe would look into possible anticompetitive practices in the way of e-book sales.
Also, the U.S. is
roping Amazon into its investigation
as well. According to reports, Attorneys general in Connecticut and Texas are looking into whether e-book retailers like Amazon and Apple are using pricing tactics that are "harmful to consumers," mainly referring to the e-book industry's switch from a wholesale model, where retailers set the price of e-books, to an agency model, where publishers set the price of e-books.
Back when Amazon was one of the only e-book retailers in town with its Kindle, e-books were set at a price of $9.99. But since other competition, such as Apple's iBooks on its iPad, came to the table, bestselling e-book prices have risen to $14 and up.
The Los Angeles Times
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RE: Gottal Love the "American" Market
12/8/2011 1:32:59 PM
I remember all of this some years ago. Amazon went to the length of removing books from publishers that wanted to sell it for more and trying to force them to use the "agency" model. however, they were forced to put them back at the higher prices, since they do not want to be left behind if Apple were able to offer books that are not available on the Kindle. Of course once they let a couple of publishers dictate that one, All the others wanted the same.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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