Connecticut AG probing Apple, Amazon book deals

Market Watch
Calling the arrangements potentially anti-competitive, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is questioning e-book deals struck by Amazon and Apple with individual book publishers.

Benjamin Pimentel writes that Blumenthal is concerned that the terms of the contracts restrict the ability of other e-book sellers to compete with Apple and Amazon:

" 'These agreements appear to deter certain publishers from offering discounts to Amazon and Apple's competitors -- because they must offer the same to Amazon and Apple,' Blumenthal's office said in a statement.

" 'Such a stipulation 'blocks cheaper and competitive prices for consumers,' the statement said."

News publishers don't have a direct stake in the argument over e-book pricing. But they would benefit from any mitigating actions taken by Amazon or Apple to bring more openness to their digital storefronts. It is possible that the increased scrutiny could lead to an increased willingness to negotiate on issues such as Time Warner's quest to set up a subscription plan for its Sports Illustrated iPad app.


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