Tamblyn's 'surprise' at Canada competition demand

Tamblyn's 'surprise' at Canada competition demand

Kobo’s president and chief content officer Michael Tamblyn has said he is “surprised” that Canada's Competition Bureau has asked Kobo along with Indigo Books and Music to hand over more records to help its investigation into anti-competitive e-book pricing. 

The Competition Bureau revealed last week it had asked Indigo Books and Music to supply “certain records” as part of its ongoing investigation into alleged anti-competitive e-book pricing practices, according to the Canada Globe and Mail.

However, the Bureau emphasized that Kobo wasn’t the subject of an investigation. 

“At this time, there is no conclusion of wrongdoing by Penguin, Kobo or Indigo, and no application has been filed with the Competition Tribunal or any other court to seek remedies for any alleged anti-competitive conduct on the part of Penguin, Kobo or Indigo,” Bureau spokesperson Greg Scott told the newspaper.

In response to the request for more information, Tamblyn told Publishers Weekly: “We are obviously surprised that in this latest evolution of the Bureau’s investigation, only those who challenged the Bureau’s previous settlements with publishers are being singled out for this particularly onerous process.” He added that Kobo had consistently cooperated during the two-and-a-half year investigation “and has already voluntarily produced to the Bureau records and reams of data.”

Kobo managed to convince Canada’s Competition Tribunal in March last year to halt an agreement between Hachette Book Group Canada, HarperCollins Canada, Simon & Schuster Canada, and Macmillan Canada regarding e-book pricing.

The order in Kobo’s favour halted the planned 19th March implementation of a deal which removed restrictions on retailer discounting of e-books. 

Kobo, the largest e-book retailer in Canada, had argued the company would “suffer unrecoverable losses” if the deal was allowed.

“Without a stay, Kobo will be irreparably harmed,” Kobo said in documents filed with the tribunal at the time. “Its contracts with four of the largest e-book publishers in Canada will be terminated or fundamentally altered. Kobo — not the consenting publishers — will bear the financial losses arising from these changes.”