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US authors call for antitrust investigation into Amazon

In the US, Authors United, a loose coalition who protested Amazon during its 2014 dispute with Hachette US, has asked members to sign a letter calling for the Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust division to investigate the retailer’s control of the book market, reports the Bookseller. In the letter, Authors United expresses concerns over Amazon misusing its ‘unprecedented market power’, which has made it ‘a monopoly in its role as a seller of books to the public and a monopsony in its role as buyer of books from publishers’. Examples given of the retailer’s misuse include blocking the sale of certain authors’ books and damaging those authors’ careers; extracting ‘a greater share of the total price of a book from publishers, through the imposition of fees, under the threat of punishment’; and generating fear among ‘authors, agents, editors, publishers, and others who do not cooperate with the company’. The letter was composed by author Douglas Preston with help from the Authors Guild, and is endorsed by the American Booksellers Association and the Association of Authors’ Representatives. The letter will be submitted to the DOJ in late July and is published on the Authors United website here. As previously reported by Books+Publishing, Amazon’s ebook practices are currently under formal investigation by the European Commission.


Category: International news