Sunday, August 30, 2015

Amazon's KDP Select Restricts Global Free Trade

Smashwords's founder and president, Mark Coker, blogged regarding Smashwords ending its contract with India's Flipcart (see original post: Below is my two-cents. There is trouble afoot, but I agree with Mark Coker's proposed solution, which he emailed to Amazon's CEO. Here is my post:

No doubt, Amazon is the new opiate of the masses, and no matter how you slice s**t, it's still s**t.

US anti-trust laws address predatory, monopolistic, and heavy-handed business practices. Those affected (authors, Smashwords, et al) can file complaints with the US Department of Justice's Anti-Trust/Foreign Commerce division (USDoJ/AT-R). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a similar reporting process. Their links are easy to get to from a Google search.

Also, because Smashwords and Flipcart will be negatively, economically, impacted as a result of Amazon's KDPS exclusivity rules and related punishments, both could file grievances with the World Trade Organization (WTO) because KDPS impedes free trade between (but not limited to) the US and India. Due to Amazon's dominant position in the global ebook market,its scale creates an artificial, non-tariff barrier to market penetration and retention in India (in this instance). India's primary retailers only purchase via distributors, such as Smashwords. Hence, Amazon is restricting free trade.

Although I have not yet been economically affected by the dissolution of Smashwords's contract with Flipcart, this action has eliminated my ability to reach readers in India, a fact that will warrant my submitting complaints to the FTC, USDoJ, and WTO. I urge all others, both directly and indirectly affected, to file complaints. The Sherman Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Clayton Acts take monopolistic, trade-restricting behaviours very seriously, and the punishments are often severe.

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