German book publishers accuse Amazon of antitrust violation | Business | Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 24.06.2014

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German book publishers accuse Amazon of antitrust violation

German book publishers have accused US Internet retail giant Amazon of violating domestic competition rules. They have requested antitrust authorities to investigate and take punitive action, if required.

The book publishers' formal complaint was announced Tuesday and came about eight weeks after Amazon stopped shipping books from the Bonnier Media Group, a Swedish publisher active in 30 countries.

There'd been a row over dividing revenue from e-book sales, with some titles still not being available for next-day shipping, Amazon's standard for deliveries to Germany.

Amazon stands accused of deliberately delaying shipments to force publishing houses to accept higher rebates for the sale of e-books.

Speedy action wanted

"Amazon business conduct not only affects those publishers involved in the dispute, but poses a threat to all who offer e-books in Germany," the German Publishers and Booksellers Association said in a statement.

Watch video 04:21

Digital competition for the printed book

Germany's Federal Cartel Office will now have to decide whether the accusations are justified and whether it should officially open proceedings against the US retailer.

According to the New York Times, Germany is Amazon's most important sales market outside the US, with earnings to the tune of $2.6 billion (1.9 billion euros) logged in the country last year.

hg/sgb (AFP, epd)