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Amazon and Apple investigated for selling audiobooks

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That deal predates the purchase of Audible.com by US internet giant Amazon in 2008.

The German competition authorities announced on Monday the opening of a investigation into commercial relations between the audiobook sales website Audible.comsubsidiary of Amazon, and Apple, which publishers accuse of imposing “unacceptable” conditions.

The German Anti-Cartel Office recalls in a statement that Audible.com has had an exclusive deal for years to sell downloadable audiobooks on the iTunes Storethe online store of the technology company American Apple.

That deal predates the purchase of Audible.com. by the American giant of internet sales, Amazon, in 2008.

Amazon and Apple “have a strong position regarding the digital offer of audiobooks (…) It must be ensured that audiobook publishers have a sufficient number of possible alternatives for the distribution of audiobooks,” explains the president of the German body, Andreas Mundt, in the statement.

The investigation was opened following a lawsuit filed by the German federation of publishers and booksellers Börsenverein, who also brought the case before the European Commission.

“Audible is accused of using its position in the market to impose unacceptable marketing conditions on digital audiobook publishers,” Börsenverein explained in September.

According to the German federation, between its own sales platform, Amazon and iTunes Store, 90% of audiobook downloads in Germany come from Audible.

AFP