Book publisher’s e-book price-fixing class action seeks dismissal
- A federal judge in New York has recommended dismissing a class action lawsuit accusing Amazon and five of the largest book publishers in the United States of working together to fix the price of e-books.
- U.S. Magistrate Judge Valerie Figueredo sided with Amazon, which filed a motion to dismiss the claims, ruling that e-book buyers had not plausibly alleged that the company and book publishers , among which HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and MacMillan, conspired together.
- The judge also determined that there are a number of reasons why a book publisher would enter into an agreement with Amazon that does not amount to price fixing.
Overview of the eBook Monopoly class action lawsuit:
- Who: Amazon has asked a federal judge to bring a class action lawsuit against the company.
- Why: A proposed class of consumers alleges that Amazon collaborated with five of the nation’s largest book publishers to create a monopoly in the e-book market.
- Where: The class action lawsuit was filed in federal court in New York.
(September 22, 2021)
Amazon committed antitrust violations by partnering with five of the nation’s largest book publishers to corner the e-book market, according to a new class action lawsuit.
A proposed consumer category claims that Amazon, along with HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and MacMillan created price restrictions that forced consumers to pay more if they did not buy ebooks on Amazon.
Amazon and the five publishers have asked a federal judge in New York to dismiss the proposed class action, calling it an “illogical conspiracy,” according to a motion to dismiss filed September 17.
“[The] Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint contains no factual allegation that credibly explains why Defendants would participate in such a conspiracy, let alone demonstrate that they carried it out,” Amazon said in the motion.
The plaintiffs say Amazon used terms and conditions — such as not allowing publishers to charge more for their e-books on Amazon than on other platforms — to retain control of book distribution and prevent publishers to partner with other companies.
Amazon says the allegations are meaningless because it would not be in the publisher’s interest to create a monopoly retailer that it would then have to deal with.
The publishers say all they have been able to do, at worst, is strike similar deals with Amazon, reports Law360.
Amazon entered into ‘anti-competitive deals’ on e-books with publishers, class action claims
The class action lawsuit came after Connecticut Attorney General William Tong announced plans to check whether Amazon has entered into anti-competitive agreements with publishers.
A separate class action lawsuit was filed this month against Amazon by a consumer alleging that the company illegally charges sales tax on digital items.
Do you think Amazon has created a monopoly with the big five book publishers? Let us know in the comments!
The Proposed Class is represented by Steve W. Berman and Barbara A. Mahoney of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP and Joseph M. Vanek, Paul E. Slater and Matthew T. Slater of Sperling & Slater PC.
The Monopoly Class Action Ebook is Fremgen et al. against Amazon.com Inc.Case No. 1:21-cv-00351, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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