Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Independent stores, traditional authors want DOJ to look at Amazon for possible anti-trust activity
Once again, Amazon is in the middle of legal controversy, as the New York Times Business Day reports that groups representing authors (like the Authors Guild) and independent booksellers want the US Department of Justice to look at anti-trust action against Amazon, story by David Streitfeld here.
The story suggests that Amazon hinders placement of some authors or subject matter, or seriously undercuts regular booksellers. The story also discusses concerns over Amazon’s command over the e-book market.
It is not apparent, however, that these complaints seem to affect self-published books. In rare cases, Amazon has withdrawn books when there is large public outcry over content (such as pedophilia). Amazon doesn’t seem concerned about sales performance as far as being interested or willing to keep “indie” or POD books listed.
In practice, some independent booksellers probably fear that the popularity of inexpensive e-books (even give-aways) undercuts the interest of some consumers to visit their stores. It is certainly easier to order a book from Amazon on line and go to a store to get it. But you do have to pay for prime membership to get the free shipping.