EU Commission to investigate German Amazon complaint

EU Commission to investigate German Amazon complaint

The complaint against Amazon that the German trade association Börsenverein officially lodged earlier this month with the German competition authorities has attracted the attention of the EU Commission. Brussels has launched its own preliminary investigation, based on the facts gathered by the Börsenverein.

Alexander Skipis, chief executive of the Börsenverein, was informed of the development during a top-level meeting with the Bundeskartellamt, which will closely monitor procedures in Brussels. An outspoken critic of Amazon, hewelcomed the move but warned the Commission against "prolonging the procedure“ unneccessarily.

In its complaint the association alleges that the giant e-tailer has abused its market power in its negotiations with the German subsidiary of Swedish publishing group Bonnier by means which amount to blackmail. Amazon is in an ongoing dispute with Bonnier over terms for e-books. The situation is similar to the US where negotiations with Hachette Book Group have stalled.

The German initiative has received broad support not only from the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), but also from within its own industry. Among those speaking out in favour is AvJ, a cooperation of about 100 children’s book publishers.