Amazon Sued For Allegedly Price-Fixing Ebooks With Publishers

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Nathalie Voit Contributor
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Retail giant Amazon and the “Big Five” publishing houses – Penguin Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan, and Simon & Schuster – have been implicated in a massive class action lawsuit for colluding to fix e-book prices, The Guardian reported on Friday.

The lawsuit was filed by the same firm – Seattle-based Hagens Berman – that successfully sued Apple and the Big Five publishers on the same charge in 2011, the British news group reported.

The suit, filed Thursday in the Southern District Court of New York on behalf of consumers across the US, accuses Amazon and the Big Five publishers of using an anti-competitive clause referred to as “Most Favored Nations” (MFN) to maintain artificially high ebook prices, shared The Guardian.

The complaint alleges Amazon and the publishing houses agreed to price restrictions that forced customers to pay more for ebooks bought via retail platforms that were not explicitly, shared the UK newspaper.

The suit names Amazon as the primary defendant in the case and the Big Five publishing houses as “co-conspirators,” charging them with violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

“Amazon’s agreement with its Co-conspirators is an unreasonable restraint of trade that prevents competitive pricing and causes Plaintiffs and other consumers to overpay when they purchase ebooks from the Big Five through an ebook retailer that competes with Amazon. That harm persists and will not abate unless Amazon and the Big Five are stopped,” reads the claim.

According to the suit, 9 out of 10 ebooks in the country are sold through the online retail giant. (RELATED: Parler Files Lawsuit Against Amazon)

The class action complaint seeks compensation for consumers who purchased e-books through competitors, in addition to “damages and injunctive relief” that would mandate Amazon and the publishing houses to end the price fixing, shared The Guardian.

Amazon declined to comment when contacted by Reuters, reported The Guardian.