CHICAGO - A bookstore in Evanston has joined a lawsuit against Amazon, accusing the retail giant of price fixing.
Nina Barrett of Bookends & Beginnings claims Amazon's scheme makes it impossible for other retailers to sell their books.
According to the suit, Amazon has contracts with the nation's five biggest publishers, which blocks the publishers from giving other retailers better prices.
"We are in the position every day of trying to explain to our customers why if you have a book and the price on the book is say $27.99, we actually have to charge you the 27.99. And Amazon doesn’t have to do that," Barrett said.
That is why Barrett has agreed to be the named plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against Amazon and the top five book publishers in the United States. The lawsuit accuses them of illegal price fixing, by selling books to Amazon at a substantial discount, which then allows Amazon to sell the books online cheap.
Independent booksellers say they are forced to pay full price and Barrett says that is eventually going to put them out of business.
"We supposedly don’t believe in that in this country. We believe that there ought to be competition," she said.
The lawyer representing Barrett says it is a challenge to big tech monopolies and expects other mom and pop booksellers to be joining the class-action lawsuit.
"I don’t think it is going to be a quick struggle, it’s not going to be an easy struggle. I think we are prepared for that. But somebody has to start it," Barrett said.
The suit, filed in New York, aims to stop the anti-competitive practice.