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Authors Guild Catalogs Amazon’s ‘Baldly Anticompetitive Practices’

Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken has sent the Department of Justice a lengthy attack on Amazon’s “baldly anticompetitive practices,” the Guild’s official response to the DOJ’s eBook price fixing lawsuit.

The Guild’s letter argued that Amazon’s “approach to destroying competition is sophisticated, data-driven, and endlessly creative.” It criticized the anticompetitive nature of Amazon’s buy button threats, its move into the on-demand publishing space, its public library lending policies, its Kindle Lending Library development and its “Balkanization of the Literary Marketplace.” Here’s an excerpt:

Even more troubling is the competitive impact statement’s failure to discuss how Amazon uses its command of the online book market and its deep pool of capital to undermine competition.  The statement doesn’t point out: that Amazon achieved its $9.99 price for e-books from November 2007 through April 2010 (and through today, for many publishers) by selling frontlist titles at a loss, a classic anti-competitive tactic; that Amazon managed to undermine its brick-and-mortar competitors while maintaining profitability by selling only a select set of e-books at its below-cost $9.99 price point, focusing its predation on digital editions of the frontlist hardcover books that attract customers to its brick-and-mortar competitors.

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