Authors United 'asking DoJ for antitrust inquiry'

Authors United 'asking DoJ for antitrust inquiry'

Authors United is to call on the US Department of Justice to launch an antitrust inquiry into Amazon, according to a Financial Times report.

The group, which last week said it was writing to Amazon’s board over what it called “sanctions” on Hachette Book Group authors, is asking authors to sign a letter to William J Baer, assistant US attorney-general for antitrust, said the FT.

In a message to authors seen by the publication, Authors United founder Douglas Preston (pictured) was quoted as saying the letter would ask the antitrust division to “examine Amazon’s business practices”.

Preston also said he had been in touch with the Department of Justice. “They are expecting this letter and they have told me that they welcome any information we can provide,” he wrote.

During the dispute over terms and pricing with Hachette Book Group in the US, Amazon has removed pre-order buttons from some of the publisher’s titles and delayed shipping on others.

In 2012 and 2013 Hachette US, Penguin, HarperCollins US, Macmillan US and Simon & Schuster US paid out millions of dollars to resolve antitrust claims relating to e-book pricing.