Big Five Publishers Names as Co-Defendants in Amazon eBook Price-Fixing Lawsuit

It took 3 weeks longer than I expected, but the Big Five Publishers have been named as co-defendants in the Amazon ebook price-fixing lawsuit.

Following an amended complaint filed this week, the Big Five publishers are now named as defendants in a consumer class action lawsuit that alleges a conspiracy with Amazon to fix prices in the e-book market.

The news comes after the initial complaint, first filed in the Southern District of New York on January 14 by Seattle-based firm Hagens Berman, portrayed the Big Five publishers—Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster—as “co-conspirators” in a bid to restrain competition in the e-book market, but had named only Amazon as a defendant. The amended complaint, filed on February 4, now pulls the publishers into the suit.

I just read the amended complaint and there’s still no evidence of a conspiracy. The filing does say that “Defendants did not act unilaterally or independently”, so clearly they are claiming there was a conspiracy, but there’s still nothing to back it up.

With that in mind, I will repeat what I wrote when this story broke:

Five independently negotiated contracts does not a conspiracy make.

While I would love to see these contracts broken and real competition restored to the marketplace, I just don’t see this case going anywhere.

image by bchow via Flickr

Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

1 Comment

  1. Allen F9 February, 2021

    Sorry, just another ADS case to make some lawyers some extra money. Seems they missed the real conspiracy a while back of the B/qig5 and Apple – which the DoJ stomped on as I recall.

    With agency in the current contracts the qig5 are setting the prices – not Amazon – go after them.

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