Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Bookstores file class action against Amazon, big six publishers

In the US, three independent bookstores have filed a class action complaint against Amazon and the big six publishers that centres on the use of digital rights management (DRM) to lock consumers into reading ebooks on an Amazon Kindle, reports the Huffington Post.

The class action complaint was filed in New York on 15 February by Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany, New York, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina, and Posman Books in New York City, although the suit states that the stores are suing on behalf of ‘all independent brick-and-mortar bookstores who sell ebooks’. All parties to the lawsuit are due to appear at the US Court in New York City on 11 March for a scheduling conference, reports Publishers Weekly.

The bookstores claim that by entering into confidential agreements with Random House, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan, ‘Amazon has created a monopoly in the marketplace that is designed to control prices and destroy independent booksellers’, reports the Huffington Post.

Alyson Decker of Blecher & Collins PC, lead counsel acting for the bookstores, told the Huffington Post that the complaint is still in the process of being served to Amazon and the publishers, and that the plaintiffs ‘are seeking relief for independent brick-and-mortar bookstores so that they would be able to sell open-source and DRM-free books that could be used on the Kindle or other electronic ereaders’.

While the bookstores face a significant battle against such major players, if their lawsuit is successful it could have wide-ranging implications for the way in which ebooks are sold. ‘We wouldn’t have filed it if we weren’t hopeful [of winning],’ Decker told the Huffington Post.



Category: Local news