Amazon is dealing with a new claim declaring that a deal between the business and five book publishers has created higher rates on e-books, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The suit filed by law practice Hagens Berman in a federal district court in New york city, alleges that the publishers pay high commissions and other costs to Amazon, which in turn increases the market price of e-books sold on the platform. Due to the deal between Amazon and the publishers– HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random Home, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan — the Amazon rate is the price the publishers charge other sellers also, preventing other sellers from offering the e-books at lower prices, according to the lawsuit.
The claim declares the five publishers account for 80 percent of books sold in the US, and calls the plan a “conspiracy to repair the market price of e-books,” which it argues is a violation of antitrust law.
In another e-book claim back in 2012, the Justice Department accused Apple of conspiring with significant book publishers in an attempt to compete with Amazon, by pumping up e-book costs above the $9.99 price that Amazon preferred. Hagens Berman was lead counsel in the Apple case as well. The publishers settled, but Apple litigated and lost, eventually accepting a $450 million settlement, with $400 million provided as refunds to consumers. Apple rejected any misbehavior in regard to e-book rates.
Amazon decreased to comment, as did Penguin Random Home. The other publishers named in the suit did not right away respond to requests for comment from The Brink on Sunday.
Update January 17 th 1: 07 PM ET: Includes that Amazon and Penguin Random Home declined comment.