Online booksellers protest at Amazon 'price parity' move

<p>The Independent Online Booksellers Association has sent a letter to government authorities in the UK, France, Germany and the European Union, including the UK&#39;s OFT, protesting at Amazon &quot;Price Parity Policy&quot; labeling it &quot;dangerously anti&#8208;competitive&quot;.</p><p>The policy, introduced earlier this year by Amazon, insists that booksellers who sell books on its Marketplace site cannot offer them more cheaply elsewhere online. It prevents independent booksellers from price promoting on their own site, unless those prices are matched on Amazon.</p><p>The IOBA said the scheme was an &quot;anti&#8208;competitive measure by the dominant online marketplace for new and used books designed to undermine smaller competitor websites and even independent booksellers&rsquo; own websites&quot;. The IOBA said it was particularly damaging since the costs for booksellers sellng via Amazon were greater than selling off their own or other rival sites and that these costs could now not be reflected in the price.</p><p>The letter stated: &quot;It seems to us here at the IOBA that Amazon&rsquo;s policy of forcing sellers to reflect the higher costs involved in listing items for sale on Amazon across all websites is likely to be bad for book&#8208;buyers by&nbsp; generally increasing the cost of books, and is likely to be particularly damaging to smaller, cheaper aggregator site competitors to Amazon&rsquo;s market dominance.</p><p>&quot;This policy also removes the freedom from independent booksellers to set the prices that they want&nbsp; for books on their own independent websites and, as highlighted above, to offer sales and other special offers to their own customers on their own websites.&nbsp; As a result, the IOBA believes that this latest move by Amazon is dangerously anti&#8208;competitive, designed to use its market dominance to undermine smaller competitors and independent booksellers and will inevitably lead to a worse deal for bookbuyers.&quot;</p><p>The IOBA represents more than 250 independent online booksellers around the world, with about 20 members based in the UK, France and Germany who are directly affected by Amazon&rsquo;s latest policy change. </p>