US booksellers seek to join Amazon antitrust suit | Books+Publishing

In the US, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) has filed a motion with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), seeking to add independent bookstores to the FTC’s antitrust complaint against Amazon, reports Publishers Weekly.

‘The ABA believes our motion to intervene will help the FTC’s efforts to stop Amazon’s exclusionary conduct that has hurt small business, the book industry, and ultimately consumers,’ ABA CEO Allison Hill said in a statement. ‘We’re not talking about simply an unlevel playing field; left unchecked for almost thirty years, Amazon now owns the playing field and sets the rules of the game. As independent bookstores’ biggest competitor, Amazon’s exclusionary conduct directly impacting independent booksellers must be addressed explicitly in this suit. We believe the facts we bring to the table will significantly bolster key arguments made by the FTC in their already strong and compelling case.’

The ABA’s filing argues Amazon has stifled competition by ABA members ‘by exercising its monopoly power to coerce publishers to accede to its demands for substantial and unjustified price discrimination, enabling Amazon to sell books to retail customers at prices that ABA members cannot match except by forgoing a sustainable margin, or incurring a loss, given the higher wholesale prices concurrently paid by ABA members for the same books’.

As previously reported by Books+Publishing, the original FTC complaint, filed in September last year, alleges Amazon ‘uses a set of interlocking anticompetitive and unfair strategies to illegally maintain its monopoly power’.