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Amazon faces class-action lawsuit over eBook pricing
#1  ZodWallop 01-15-2021, 09:42 AM
The ebook pricing debate here often devolves to Amazon vs. the collusion of the Big Six(now Five). Here's something interesting: Reuters

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(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc was slapped with a class-action lawsuit on Thursday accusing the e-commerce giant of inflating the prices of ebooks in collusion with some publishers.

The lawsuit alleges that Amazon and the five largest U.S. publishers, collectively called the 'Big Five', agreed to price restraints that cause consumers to overpay for eBooks purchased from them through a retail platform other than Amazon.com.
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#2  JSWolf 01-15-2021, 09:45 AM
Quote ZodWallop
The ebook pricing debate here often devolves to Amazon vs. the collusion of the Big Six(now Five). Here's something interesting: Reuters
Amazon UK and the publishers should also get sued. In the UK, the government did away with VAT for eBooks and the prices didn't change. They should have gone down. But the greedy Amazon/publishers kept the prices the same.
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#3  murraypaul 01-15-2021, 10:35 AM
Quote JSWolf
Amazon UK and the publishers should also get sued. In the UK, the government did away with VAT for eBooks and the prices didn't change. They should have gone down. But the greedy Amazon/publishers kept the prices the same.


We've been through this several times. You do not understand how UK VAT works, it is not like US sales tax, it is not added at checkout by the retailer.

Amazon did reduce prices for books where they set the price.

Amazon could not change the prices for Agency eBooks to take account of the VAT change, only the publishers could.

There is nothing illegal about the publishers choosing to reduce their prices or not.

From Amazon's announcement at the time:
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For titles where Amazon sets the price, we will reduce the prices of books not already on promotion,”
Exactly the same thing happened at Kobo, but of course you ignore that to attack Amazon.
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#4  haertig 01-15-2021, 11:23 AM
The end result of a class action lawsuit may see us each getting 3 cents to apply towards a future ebook purchase, and the lawyers walking away billionaires.
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#5  Barbara1955 01-15-2021, 11:48 AM
LawSuit should be against the big 5! Since the Last time this happened the Doubled the cost of my Fav Authors! I havent read a Fav author in Years do to prices...
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#6  tomsem 01-15-2021, 02:16 PM
The big 5 publishers set the price, and it is the same price whether you purchase the book from Amazon, Google, Apple, Kobo, B&N etc.

Amazon fought agency pricing tooth and nail and lost. It’s not their market dominance that keeps this going, it is the publishers. There is no merit to this lawsuit.

That said there’s no doubt that agency pricing is good for Amazon because of their market dominance. It flattens the competitive landscape. Consumers seek out lower prices and have no reason to leave Amazon if they cannot find them somewhere else.

I think even if Amazon were forced to spin off the Kindle business it would still dominate for a very long time. Other platforms would have to invest heavily to catch up.
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#7  JSWolf 01-15-2021, 02:32 PM
Quote murraypaul

We've been through this several times. You do not understand how UK VAT works, it is not like US sales tax, it is not added at checkout by the retailer.
I know how VAT works. It's included in the price. But the publishers do not get any money from VAT. So when VAT was removed, the prices were raised to stay the same. That's cheating the public.

When it comes time for renegotiation, Amazon really needs to force them back to the prices they were before so prices can appear to be VAT free.
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#8  tomsem 01-15-2021, 02:43 PM
Quote JSWolf
I know how VAT works. It's included in the price. But the publishers do not get any money from VAT. So when VAT was removed, the prices were raised to stay the same. That's cheating the public.

When it comes time for renegotiation, Amazon really needs to force them back to the prices they were before so prices can appear to be VAT free.
But this suit is being brought in the USA and there is no VAT here (there’s one price everywhere in the US, and if states charge sales tax, that’s added on).

It’s a problem in the UK, but that’s for UK to sort out. Amazon is just honoring their contract. I don’t know what the consumer protection laws are like there.

Hagens Berman is the same firm that filed the (ultimately successful) suit against the Big 5 and Apple. They’re hoping for another home run in the current political climate in the USA, which seems to be in a ‘break them up’ mood.
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#9  rkomar 01-15-2021, 06:48 PM
Quote murraypaul

We've been through this several times. You do not understand how UK VAT works, it is not like US sales tax, it is not added at checkout by the retailer.

Amazon did reduce prices for books where they set the price.

Amazon could not change the prices for Agency eBooks to take account of the VAT change, only the publishers could.

There is nothing illegal about the publishers choosing to reduce their prices or not.

From Amazon's announcement at the time:


Exactly the same thing happened at Kobo, but of course you ignore that to attack Amazon.
If the VAT was reduced by the government to reduce the prices and that isn't happening, they should just put the VAT back to what it was. I doubt they reduced the VAT solely to put more money into the publishers' pockets. Well, maybe I'm wrong about that last part.
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#10  Uncle Robin 01-15-2021, 07:02 PM
Quote tomsem
The big 5 publishers set the price, and it is the same price whether you purchase the book from Amazon, Google, Apple, Kobo, B&N etc.
This may be true in the US, but has not been my experience here. The price difference between Amazon and others can be VERY significant, enough to make Kobo's Price Match Guarantee (which would be pointless if all were selling at same price) quite worthwhile on occasion.
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