US independents urge DoJ to protect agency model

US independents urge DoJ to protect agency model

A group of independent publishers in America have written to the Department of Justice in support of the agency agreement, warning that abolishing it would reduce competition in the market.

The nine indie presses - including Grove/Atlantic, W. W. Norton and Perseus Books Group – joined forces to warn that the DOJ abolishing the agency agreement would lead to Amazon taking a monopoly in the e-bookselling market because it sold e-books at below cost.

According to Publishers Weekly, the publishers argued that once that monopoly was achieved, Amazon would be unlikely to continue to indefinitely price e-books at below cost since “basic economics dictates that decrease competition will ultimately lead to higher prices, not lower prices.”

The submitted statement said that even if the five big publishers, Penguin, Random House, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan were to be found guilty of price-fixing, then the agency agreement should still stay in force, because otherwise banning it would “harm innocent third parties such as the Independent Book Publishers, other trade book publishers, authors, booksellers and consumers.”