Saturday, October 24, 2009

ABA calls for investigation into discounting
23.10.09 The Bookseller

The American Booksellers Association has requested the Department of Justice investigate the book price war between Wal-Mart, and Target Corp, to see if it constitutes "illegal predatory pricing", according to the Wall Street Journal.
The ABA argues that discount pricing - which has led to 10 of the most anticipated hardcover titles being priced as low as $8.98 on - amounts to such an act and that it is "damaging to the book industry and harmful to consumers", the paper said.
While it may appear that the prices will generate "more reading and a greater sharing of ideas in the culture," many of the independent stores that belong to the ABA will not be able to compete, the association said in a letter.
"The net result will be the closing of many independent bookstores and a concentration of power in the book industry in a very few hands," the letter said.

However, Gary Reback, an antitrust attorney, said the ABA bid is unlikely to find its way to court."Successful predatory-pricing cases are as rare as Bigfoot sightings," he said, noting that the antitrust division of the Justice Department has a "lot on its plate" these days.
The Justice Department, Amazon and Target declined to comment. But Daphne Moore, a spokeswoman for Wal-Mart, said, "We are reviewing the letter. We work to comply with applicable law."
Wall Street Journal

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