Jerry Brito on Amazon and Antitrust


Jonathan Mauer

Some people wonder why libertarians are skeptical of antitrust. For a hint, you have to look no further than the recent battle between book-selling giant Amazon and the publisher Hachette.

Amazon and Hachette are engaged in a pricing dispute. Although the details are unclear, it's been reported that Amazon wants better terms on ebooks as it renegotiates its contract with Hachette. Hachette is holding the line, and Amazon has exercised its "nuclear option" by pulling Hachette's print books off its virtual shelves. As a result, the company faces accusation that it acts like a monopoly and calls for antitrust action.

So it is interesting to note, points out Jerry Brito, that the dispute is happening now because Hachette agreed to renegotiate its contract with Amazon as part of an antitrust settlement with the Department of Justice. That's right. Hachette and four other big publishers were sued along with Apple in 2012 for antitrust violations.