Case Initial Text 1

Do you own a retail bookselling business?

You likely overpaid for wholesale books from the Big Five publishers due to an illegal price-fixing scheme with Amazon. Fill out the form to find out your rights to potential compensation »

Case Status
Active
Court
U.S. District Court Southern District of New York
Case Number
1:21-cv-02584
Defendant(S)
Amazon.com Inc.
Hachette Book Group, Inc
Harpercollins Publishers L.L.C.
Macmillan Publishing Group, L.L.C
Penguin Random House L.L.C
Simon & Schuster, Inc.
File Date

Hagens Berman has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming that Amazon.com colluded with the Big Five nation’s largest publishers, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Group Inc. and Simon & Schuster Inc., to illegally fix prices of trade books.

ABOUT THE BOOK PRICE-FIXING AND MOST-FAVORED-NATION CLAUSES

The Big Five publishers control 80% of the trade book market, and Amazon accounts for about half of all books sold, including 90% of all print books sold online. Attorneys say these factors and more make this market ripe for price-fixing through the highly restrictive most-favored-nation clauses (MFNs) in the publishers’ distribution agreements. The lawsuit states these anticompetitive provisions fix the wholesale price of books and prevent Amazon’s competitors from competing on price or product availability.

MFNs were previously put in the spotlight when Hagens Berman’s eBooks case led to concurrent investigations by federal and state prosecutors in the United States and by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Competition. This resulted in orders prohibiting the publishers from entering into MFNs in connection with the sale of eBooks on either continent for a period of five years.

As outlined in the lawsuit, MFNs entitle the buyer to the lowest price or best terms that the supplier offers to any other buyer. When combined with Amazon’s market dominance, they serve an anticompetitive purpose that controls the wholesale price of print trade books, destroys Amazon’s retail competition, reduces consumer choices and creates a disincentive among booksellers to compete on price or non-price promotions in the sale of print trade books, attorneys say.

 If not for these MFN agreements stifling competition, it would benefit the Big Five’s book distribution and economic self-interest to let Amazon’s rivals gain more market share by offering them lower wholesale prices or exclusive early releases.

YOUR RETAILER RIGHTS VS. THIS ANTITRUST

The lawsuit details the MFNs set to ensure no rival bookseller can differentiate itself from, or otherwise compete with, Amazon on price or product availability in the sale of print trade books. Attorneys say that this classic antitrust tactic is exactly what the Sherman Act is designed to stop. The proposed classes of online and brick-and-mortar retail booksellers seek monetary damages under the Sherman Act, as well as an order from the court that terminates the ongoing monopoly and price-fixing.

TOP ANTITRUST FIRM

Hagens Berman is one of the most successful antitrust litigation law firms in the U.S. and has achieved more than $260 billion in settlements in lawsuits against manufacturers, food corporations, automakers, big banks and others. Hagens Berman has achieved record-breaking settlements in antitrust cases, and your claim will be handled by attorneys experienced in this complex area of law. The firm also won a prior class-action lawsuit regarding artificially high prices for e-books, winning $560 million for purchasers in a case that went before the Supreme Court.

NO COST TO YOU

There is no cost or fee whatsoever involved in joining this case. In the event Hagens Berman or any other firm obtains a settlement that provides benefits to class members, the court will decide a reasonable fee to be awarded to the class' legal team. Class members will not be asked to pay any out-of-pocket sum.

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