Amazon/Booksurge – Washington State Attorney General’s Response

Kristin Alexander, Seattle Media Relations Manager, has responded to Angela Hoy of Writersweekly regarding the current issue with Amazon/Booksurge. This appears to be the first formal response regarding the questions raised by authors and POD publishers in relation to the legalities/anti-trust laws in the United States. From the enclosed communication to Angela Hoy, the Attorney General’s office seem keen to hear directly from POD publishers and authors affected by the situation.

Here is the communication in full to Angela and Richard.

The Washington Attorney General’s Antitrust Division has received
several inquiries and concerns regarding the new “print on demand” or
“POD” policy recently implemented by Amazon.com. Individuals who have
contacted our office claim that Amazon is engaging in “monopolistic
practices.” I wanted to take this opportunity to update you and your
readers of our office’s work regarding this issue.

As with all complaints regarding a business, we have advised Amazon.com
of these concerns and have asked the company to respond to us. In the
meantime, the Antitrust Division is conducting an initial review of the
marketplace and will respond more fully once that review is complete.

In order for the Attorney General’s Office or another enforcement agency
to take action on an antitrust law violation, a court must be convinced
that a company has attempted to monopolize a relevant market or is
attempting to exclude others from a market it has already monopolized.
The relevant market is judged not only in terms of what products are in
question, but the geographic service area in which competitors compete.

If it is determined that the markets involved are national in scope, it
may be more appropriate to refer this matter to one of the federal
antitrust agencies for review.

Additional Resources:
* Consumer tips can help enforcement agencies identify unethical
and suspicious corporate behavior when it occurs. Individuals who have
unique information about the market that they would like to share are
invited to complete a complaint form and submit it to the Antitrust
Division. The complaint form can be found online at
http://www.atg.wa.gov/antitrust.aspx.
* Amazon.com issued a letter to the publishing industry concerning
its new policy on March 31, 2008. The letter is posted here
> > .

You may wish to direct your readers to our Web site at
http://www.atg.wa.gov/amazonpod.aspx where this information is currently
posted.

Kindest regards,

Kristin Alexander
Seattle Media Relations Manager
Washington State Attorney General’s Office

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