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Amazon sued over prices of e-books

Amazon sued over prices of e-books

Jeff Bezos-controlled Amazon.com Inc was slapped with a class-action lawsuit on Thursday accusing the e-commerce giant of inflating the prices of e-books in collusion with some publishers, according to a Reuters report.
The lawsuit alleges that Amazon and the five largest U.S. publishers, collectively called the 'Big Five', agreed to price restraints that cause consumers to overpay for e-books purchased from them through a retail platform other than Amazon.com.

About 90% of e-books are sold through Amazon, the largest U.S. eBooks seller, the lawsuit claimed.
Law firm Hagens Berman, bringing the case, in 2011 filed a similar lawsuit against Apple Inc and the ‘Big Five’ over e-book prices.

Meanwhile, according to a report in the New York Times, the state of Connecticut is conducting an antitrust investigation into how Amazon runs its e-books business.

William Tong, Connecticut’s attorney general, said in a statement that the state “has an active and ongoing antitrust investigation into Amazon regarding potentially anticompetitive terms” in the distribution agreements the company has for electronic books with some publishers.

The investigation is the latest antitrust inquiry into Amazon to be publicly revealed. Officials in California and Washington have scrutinised how the company treats the independent merchants who use its marketplace. The Federal Trade Commission also has its own inquiry into the company, which critics say has grown into a dominant online retailer by crushing smaller competitors.

Amazon got its start selling books in the 1990s. It introduced its Kindle e-books reader in 2007. The business quickly attracted regulatory attention. In 2012, the Department of Justice sued Apple, saying it had conspired with major publishers to raise the price of e-books beyond the $9.99 that Amazon charged..