Connecticut AG investigating Apple, Amazon e-book deals

In a statement Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said his office is investigating whether e-book deals among Amazon.com and Apple and major book publishers are anticompetitive.

iBooks on the iPad. Apple

MarketWatch has posted a short news item about how Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is investigating whether "e-book deals between Amazon.com and Apple and major book publishers may be anticompetitive."

"These agreements among publishers, Amazon, and Apple appear to have already resulted in uniform prices for many of the most popular e-books--potentially depriving consumers of competitive prices," Blumenthal said in statement.

Ironically, of course, Amazon did not want to enter into the current agreements but was forced to after four out of the five major publishers signed on with Apple and moved to an "agency model" that would allow publishers, not the e-tailer, to set prices for e-books. Previously, Amazon had been selling most e-books for $9.99 or less, even though it took a loss on many newly released titles. Now many popular e-books are priced higher than $9.99 when they're first released.

We should point out that Blumenthal is a candidate for Christopher Dodd's open Senate seat and that book prices--at least the paper kind--have been fairly fixed for decades. It's also unclear why Blumenthal didn't mention Barnes & Noble, which is locked into the same e-book agreements as Apple and Amazon.

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