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Hagens Berman: Booksellers Sue Amazon and Big Five Publishers for Alleged Monopoly Price-Fixing the U.S. Print Book Market

businesswire.com – Friday March 26, 2021

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Retail booksellers today hit Amazon.com and publishing companies with a class-action lawsuit alleging a massive price-fixing scheme to intentionally constrain the bookselling market and inflate the wholesale price of print books, according to Hagens Berman and its co-counsel Sperling & Slater P.C.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Mar. 25, 2021, and states that Amazon colluded with the Big Five U.S. book publishers – Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster – to restrain competition in the sale of print trade books, or non-academic texts such as fiction and non-fiction material.

The Big Five publishers control 80% of the trade book market, and Amazon accounts for about half of all books sold, including 90% of all print books sold online. Attorneys say these factors and more make this market ripe for price-fixing through the highly restrictive most-favored-nation clauses (MFNs) in their distribution agreements. The lawsuit states these anticompetitive provisions fix the wholesale price of books and prevent Amazon’s competitors from competing on price or product availability.

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