Six months ago, I wrote about a major court decision and the negative impact it could have on many regional Adirondack businesses, especially booksellers. The next phase has arrived in a convoluted, “if-you-can’t-beat-’em, join-’em” story, challenged by one of upstate New York’s top independent bookstores. The defendants in the earlier case included several of the nation’s largest publishers―Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster. Their e-book titles were being deeply discounted by Amazon, and to fight back, the group signed an exclusive agreement with Apple to sell the same e-books at artificially inflated prices.
The government called it anti-trust collusion, and when the courts approved a settlement in favor of Amazon last September, the Justice Department lauded the agreement as “in the public interest, and consumers will start to benefit from the restored competition in this important industry.” » Continue Reading.