"It is time to remove the chilling shadow of Amazon’s interference in the book market. It is time to open an investigation and take action," read a recent letter to the Federal Trade Commission's Chair Lina Khan challenging Amazon's alleged dominance over the online bookselling market in the United States. Written by the US-based Open Markets Institute, the Authors Guild, and the American Booksellers Association the letter alleged that the tech giant indulged in anti-competitive practices like driving down book prices, self-preferencing its own titles, and depressing competition between other retailers and newer authors. MediaNama has reached out to Amazon for comments. This piece will be updated once they respond. "Amazon has amassed such power in this space over the last decade and a half that its shadow stretches long over almost every aspect of the book market," alleged the August 16th dated letter. "Today the free exchange of ideas is impeded and warped by opaque algorithms and sales practices controlled by Amazon and premised on which publisher and/or author is willing and able to pay the highest extortionary tax to get their books promoted on Amazon’s website". "Books are not like other products," the letter continued. "A book represents the expression of ideas. Batteries, sneakers, and other goods may represent the bulk of the products that Amazon sells. But it is the corporation’s manipulation of the book industry that most directly threatens the flourishing of our democratic society. The time has come for our law enforcers and policymakers to complete their efforts to reestablish one of the foundational political economic assumptions on…
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