BANGOR, MAINE (CN) – Amazon.com violates antitrust law by demanding that all print-on-demand publishers who sell through Amazon also use BookSurge, a company that Amazon bought for that type of publishing. The federal class action claims this is an illegal tying arrangement meant to drive competing publishers out of business.
Lead plaintiff BookLocker.com claims that most print-on-demand books are sold through the Internet. It claims that major chain bookstores “generally do not stock books from POD publishers.”
BookLocker sues on behalf of “thousands of POD publishers … who in the aggregate publish hundreds of thousands of titles.” BookLocker says it has a catalogue of 1,200 POD titles.
It claims that Amazon bought On Demand Publishing dba BookSurge in 2005, and that on Feb. 10 this year, “Amazon began notifying POD publishing companies that Amazon and the Bookstore would only directly sell to consumers POD Books that were printed by BookSurge.”
Plaintiff claims Amazon controls 70 percent of the online book sales and is abusing its market power to squeeze out competitors in print-on-demand publishing.
Plaintiff says it publishes its print-on-demand titles through Amazon’s largest POD competitor, Lightning Source, which, before Amazon’s illegal action, was printing 1 million books a month for 4,300 publishers.
BookLocker demands damages and an injunction. It is represented by Anthony Pellegrini with Rudman & Winchell.