Menu
Amazon's e-book distribution contracts could be illegal, says EU

Amazon's e-book distribution contracts could be illegal, says EU

The EU will conduct a formal investigation of Amazon's contracts with publishers, but the company says its contracts are legal

Amazon logo on tape

Amazon logo on tape

Amazon.com's e-book distribution deals are coming under close scrutiny from the European Commission, which has begun a formal antitrust investigation into the company's contracts with publishers.

The probe will focus on clauses in Amazon's contracts that require publishers to tell the company about more favorable or similar terms and conditions they offer competitors, or ensure that Amazon is offered terms as least as good as the competition, the Commission said in a news release.

Such clauses can make it more difficult for other e-book sellers to compete with Amazon by developing new and innovative products, the Commission said, adding that it will investigate if the clauses limit competition and reduce consumer choice. If that is the case, Amazon could violate European Union antitrust rules that prohibit the abuse of a dominant market position.

The company denied the allegations, saying its agreements with publishers are legal and in the best interests of readers. The company plans to cooperate with the investigation, it said.

Amazon is currently the largest distributor of e-books in Europe, where e-books have become increasingly popular in the last years. The investigation will focus on e-books in German and English, the largest e-book markets in the EU, the Commission said. It began the investigation on its own initiative, and not as a result of a complaint, it said.

The e-books sector has been under investigation in Europe before. In 2011, the Commission opened a probe into deals Apple had with publishers on the suspicion that they had colluded to fix prices for e-books. Those concerns were addressed in 2012 and 2013 when the companies offered commitments that were accepted by the Commission.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags legalantitrusteuropean commissionamazon.com

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments