Amazon sued for fixing e-book prices in US

San Francisco: A lawsuit has been filed against Amazon in the US alleging that the e-commerce giant fixed prices of e-books, forcing customers on other book sites to pay too much for them.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the lawsuit filed in a federal district court in New York alleged that Amazon struck a deal with five major book publishers that led to higher e-book prices for all consumers.

It prevented “rival retailers from selling any of these publishers’ e-books at a lower price than on Amazon,” the report said on Friday.

Calling it a “conspiracy to fix the retail price of e-books,” the lawsuit alleged that the deal violates antitrust law.

“In a competitive market, the Big Five could sell e-books at a lower price on their own websites or through Amazon’s retail competitors that offer lower commissions and fees,” the lawsuit said.

Last year, reports emerged that California and Washington state have launched probes into the anti-trust business practices of Amazon.

The report came as Amazon was facing antitrust scrutiny from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as well as from the European Union.

The lawsuit follows a previous report that Connecticut’s Attorney General, William Tong, is investigating “whether Amazon engaged in anticompetitive behaviour in the e-book business through its agreements with certain publishers.”