Small Bookstores Take On Amazon, Large Publishing Houses Over E-Readers

Three small bookstores claim an agreement between the publishing houses and Amazon is unfair for business.

Three small independent bookstores are taking on the giants in book publishing in what could be a landmark lawsuit. Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Posman Book and Fiction Addiction claimed in the lawsuit filed late last week in Federal Court in New York that Amazon and the big six publishing houses were deliberately forcing out smaller stores from the e-reader market.

The smaller stores take issue with an alleged agreement between Amazon and the publishing houses that allow them to code their e-books to be compatible only with the Amazon Kindle. The plaintiffs, who say they are filing a class action on behalf of all independent bookstores, argue that more open coding would make the marketplace more even.

"Competition, including price competition and choice at the consumer level for e-books has been, and will continue to be, restrained, suppressed or eliminated as a result of the contracts and combinations described herein," the complaint reads.

Amazon is also facing trouble in Germany over alleged antitrust practices there.

[Photo by flickr user enno]

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