The Competition Authority conducted a raid at the eBook distributor, Bokbasen, and four major publishers at the same time in January.
“The unannounced check came shortly before the Publishers’ Association and the Bookstores Association will negotiate a new book agreement, which will apply from 2019,” writes Dagens Næringsliv. The audit believes the agreement inhibits competition in the market. This is especially true in the case of fixed prices for new books.
“I can confirm that they have been here,” says Bokbasen CEO, Bente Franck-Sætervoll, who says he does not know what they were looking for.
“We needed to ask them outright.”
The Bokbasen is a distributor for ebooks, and is thus a hub in the electronic book trade. It is owned by virtually all the important players in the book market. At the same time as they checked the Bokbasen, the audit closed in against Cappelen Damm, Aschehoug, Gyldendal, and Vigmostad & Bjørke. The latter owns 11.63 percent of the Bokbasen, while the first three own 15 percent each.
Legal Director of the Norwegian Competition Authority, Karin Stakkestad Laastad, does not want to say what they were looking for, but refers to what the audit has said earlier.
“That is, we are investigating a possible breach of the competition law in connection with the book market,” she wrote in an email. The case concerns possible unlawful cooperation on the exchange of competitive sensitive information.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today