Ebook pricing investigation begins

Ereaders and tablets fuelling the ebook explosion - but is pricing fair?

The Office of Fair Trading is investigating how ebooks are priced after receiving "a significant number of complaints".

The complaints pertain to pricing arrangements between book publishers and retailers which could breach competition rules.

Wary of its downloads going the way of the music industry, book publishers in the UK have tended to set their own pricing rather than allowing retailers to decide how much to charge for the digital download.

You can't buy a second-hand ebook

Retailers take a percentage of that price, but it means that pricing is stagnant throughout the ebook market with minimum pricing set relatively high.

The OFT released a statement which said, "The OFT has opened an investigation into whether arrangements that certain publishers have put in place with some retailers for the sale of ebooks may breach competition rules.

"The investigation is at an early stage and it should not be assumed that the parties involved have breached competition law."

With the rise of the tablet making ebooks ever-more prolific, it's understandable for the publishing world to want to protect its products and profits. But, ultimately, if ebook pricing isn't competitive then it's the consumer who will lose out.

Via The WSJ