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Friday, 22 February 2013 11:07

Bookstores take publishers to court

Written by Nick Farrell



Unfair practices

Three independent bookstores are taking Amazon and the so-called Big Six publishers to court in an attempt to level the playing field for book retailers.

If they pull off the case, the lawsuit could change how ebooks are sold. The class-action complaint claims that by entering into confidential agreements with the Big Six publishers, who control approximately 60 percent of print book revenue Amazon has been playing monopoly. Its antics control prices and are destroying independent booksellers.

At the heart of the complaint is Amazon’s use of DRM to prevent consumers from transferring any ebook they buy on an Amazon Kindle onto, say, a Nook or Kobo ereader. All ebooks sold by the major publishers use DRM and it means that if a consumer decides to switch to another company's ereading device, he or she would lose access to any already purchased ebooks.

The bookstores making the complaint are the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Fiction Addiction and Posman Books of New York City, though the suit states that these stores are suing on behalf of "all independent brick-and-mortar bookstores who sell e-books."

It is a high stakes legal battle which could lead to a reduction in Amazon's dominant market position, and completely reshape the ebook marketplace.

Nick Farrell

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