Nine major independent publishers object to DoJ price-fixing settlement
July 4, 2012 | 9:00 pm
The Atlantic reports on a new 20-page legal brief objecting to the terms of the Department of Justice settlement, filed by nine major independent publishers: Abrams Books, Chronicle Books, Grove/Atlantic Inc. Chicago Review Press, Inc, New Directions Publishing Corp., W.W. Norton & Company, Perseus Books Group, the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, and Workman Publishing.
These publishers object to the settlement on similar grounds to everyone else who has objected—it will allow Amazon to prosper at the expense of publishers, and is thus contrary to the public interest. The publishers complain that the DoJ never talked to independent publishers to find out how they would be affected by such a settlement, and that the DoJ simply does not understand either the independent publishers or indeed “the publishing industry as a whole.” (Publishers Weekly also has coverage.)
As far as I know, none of these indie publishers have ever been able to use agency pricing in their dealings with Amazon—Amazon only gave that power to the Agency Five, and that only because they insisted. I imagine that they have hopes of one day being able to require Amazon to use that pricing model with their own works—but for that to happen, it has to keep being used by other publishers so Amazon doesn’t use its own prices to undercut the competition.