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Connecticut probes Amazon's e-book business

Connecticut probes Amazon's e-book business
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Connecticut is probing Amazon’s e-book distribution for potential anticompetitive behavior, according to the state's attorney general. 

“Connecticut has an active and ongoing antitrust investigation into Amazon regarding potentially anticompetitive terms in their e-book distribution agreements with certain publishers,” Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) said in a statement. 

Tong noted that Connecticut has previously taken action to protect competition in e-book sales. 

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When the Justice Department sued Apple in 2012 alleging it conspired with major publishers to raise the price of e-books, Connecticut was among states that filed their own lawsuit against Apple, The Wall Street Journal noted. The Journal was the first to report on Connecticut’s Amazon probe. 

“Our office continues to aggressively monitor this market to protect fair competition for consumers, authors, and other e-book retailers,” Tong said in the statement. 

Tong’s office issued a subpoena to Amazon in 2019 for documents related to its deals with five major publishers, according to a copy of the subpoena obtained by the Tech Transparency Project through an open records request and shared with The Hill. 

Amazon declined to comment.

The online retail giant has also been facing pressure from tech advocacy groups and librarians over its distribution of e-books. Amazon does not sell the e-books it publishes in-house to libraries, unlike the deals other traditional publishers have with libraries.

Tong's investigation into Amazon’s e-book business is one of many antitrust investigations facing the tech giant, including state-led and federal efforts.

Updated 3:55 p.m.