IndexInspectors have raided offices and taken laptops and smartphones of senior executives, says The Bookseller, suspecting the companies of price fixing digital books.

A statement from the Directorate General for Competition read: “The European Commission can confirm that on 1 March 2011 Commission officials initiated unannounced inspections at the premises of companies that are active in the e-book (electronic or digital books) publishing sector in several Member States. The Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and other restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union).

“The Commission officials were accompanied by their counterparts from the relevant national competition authorities. Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself. The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings.

“There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anti-competitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate with the Commission and the exercise of the rights of defence.”

More info in the article.


  1. From what I can read the fixed price system they want to institute in France sounds worse than agency.

    Anyway it’s the same old same old. There is a news story of somebody somewhere being investigated for possible misdemeanors in the ebook publishing world. Ebook advocates immediately hail this as the Beginning of the End of the Reign of Agency.

    Feverish speculation mounts that this criminal cabal will be behind bars soon, or at the very least be forced to sell all ebooks at 99 cents. Nothing happens, the story fades, and disappointed readers find themselves facing the same old vale of tears.

    Rinse and repeat.

  2. It’s excellent news and justifies the many people who submitted objections to the EU Competition Authority. Those same people will keep the focus of the EU on the outcome and make sure that even if the outcome is not positive, then new laws need to be brought in to make it illegal.

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