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Connecticut examines Amazon’s e-book business.



Connecticut is actively investigating how Amazon.com Inc. sells and distributes digital books, according to the state attorney general, the latest report of several state and federal investigations into the giant’s business practices. Technology

The investigation is investigating whether Amazon is engaging in anti-competitive behavior in the e-book business through deals with certain publishers, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said in a statement.

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Connecticut is asking Amazon to provide documents related to dealing with five of the largest book publishers in the US, according to a summons issued in 201

9, Tech Transparency, a nonprofit that reviews technology platforms. Has been subpoenaed through a request to open, record and share with The Wall Street Journal.

Amazon declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Mr Tong said the company cooperated with the subpoena.

Connecticut previously had an interest in the e-book business.In 2012, the U.S. Justice Department accused in a civil antitrust lawsuit that five major publishers and Apple Inc. had worked together to raise e-book prices. Connecticut, along with Texas, led similar legal efforts by state groups.

“Our office continues to vigorously investigate this market to protect fair competition for consumers, authors and other e-book retailers,” Tong said in a statement.

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Publishers referred to in Connecticut’s Amazon subpoena are HarperCollins Publishing, which News Corp owns, such as The Wall Street Journal; Lagardere’s Hachette Book Group SCA; Penguin Random House, a division of German media company Bertelsmann SE; Simon & Schuster, ViacomCBS Inc.’s book publisher; And Macmillan Penguin Random House agreed to acquire Simon & Schuster, pending regulatory approval.

All publishers referred to in the subpoenas declined to comment.

The Connecticut investigation is one of an ongoing investigation into the Seattle-based company’s marketing power.In October, the House antitrust subcommittee conducted a 16-month investigation into Amazon and the technology company. Others conclude that Amazon has compiled a “monopoly” over the sellers on its site.

The US Department of Justice in 2019 launched an extensive investigation into the marketing power of big tech companies including Amazon and the Federal Trade Commission overseeing Amazon as part of a review of the business practices of large tech companies. Larger, wider In addition to Connecticut, California researchers are examining Amazon’s business practices, the journal reports.

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Amazon is the dominant US e-book retailer, accounting for 76 percent of the digital books sold in the United States in September, according to Codex Group LLC, a book audience research firm. Competing sellers of digital books include Apple, Google Alphabet Inc. and Barnes & Noble.

The e-book market has been controversial for years.Amazon got its start when it launched the Kindle e-reader in November 2007, launching a digital bestseller for $ 9.99.The discounted offer helped Amazon build its share. Marketing But publishers believe it will affect the industry.

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A few years later, Apple went into business when it launched the iPad, with a deal allowing publishers to set retail prices for their books. This has improved the legacy format, where publishers allow retailers to set prices for consumers and effectively block price cuts without publisher approval.

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Later, the Justice Department filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Apple and five of the major publishers.The publisher decided that Apple went to trial but lost.

Write to Jeffrey A.Trachtenberg at jeffrey.trachtenberg@wsj.com and Dana Mattioli at dana.mattioli@wsj.com.


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