Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Booksellers are Straying from the Script

The parties that the FTC's case against Amazon is intended to protect are contradicting key elements of the FTC's case. A WSJ opinion claims that the FTC would like to prevent the American Booksellers Association (ABA) from permission to intervene in the case. “We believe the facts we bring to the table will significantly bolster key arguments made by the FTC in their already strong and compelling case,” says ABA CEO Allison Hill. The FTC wrote a brief opposing this "help" from the ABA because the ABA contradicts some FTC claims about the case.

What is the market definition?

The FTC narrowly defines the market in which Amazon competes as “online super stores”—namely, Walmart, Target and eBay—to argue that it has monopoly power. But small booksellers rightly argue that they also compete with Amazon.

Higher prices or lower prices?

On one hand, booksellers argue that Amazon uses its clout to obtain and sell books at lower prices, forcing them to cut their own prices. On the other, the FTC says Amazon uses its market power to block other businesses from selling at lower prices.

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