UPDATE - Please see our updated response as of April 23, 2008 --here.
The Washington Attorney General’s Antitrust Division has received several inquiries and concerns regarding the new “print on demand” or “POD” policy recently implemented by Amazon.com. Individuals who have contacted our office claim that Amazon is engaging in “monopolistic practices.”
As with all complaints regarding a business, we have advised Amazon.com of these concerns and have asked the company to respond to us. In the meantime, the Antitrust Division is conducting an initial review of the marketplace and will respond more fully once that review is complete.
In order for the Attorney General’s Office or another enforcement agency to take action on an antitrust law violation, a court must be convinced that a company has attempted to monopolize a relevant market or is attempting to exclude others from a market it has already monopolized. The relevant market is judged not only in terms of what products are in question, but the geographic service area in which competitors compete.
If it is determined that the markets involved are national in scope, it may be more appropriate to refer this matter to one of the federal antitrust agencies for review.
- Consumer tips can help enforcement agencies identify unethical and suspicious corporate behavior when it occurs. Individuals who have unique information about the market that they would like to share are invited to complete a complaint form and submit it to the Antitrust Division. The complaint form can be found online at http://www.atg.wa.gov/antitrust.aspx.
- Amazon.com issued a letter to the publishing industry concerning its new policy on March 31, 2008. The letter is posted here.