Not having to charge sales tax fueled Amazon’s growth for nearly 20 years. While it’s impossible not to see the company as a horse that’s already out the barn door, there’s still good reason to believe that the Marketplace Fairness Act will slow Amazon’s consolidation of retailing and provide benefit to independent businesses. Continue reading
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ILSR’s annual survey has found that independent businesses experienced solid revenue growth in 2012, buoyed in part by “buy local first” initiatives. But the survey also documented challenges facing independent businesses, most notably an increase in “showrooming” and competition from online retailers, tax and subsidy policies that favor their big competitors, difficulty obtaining loans, and a customer base still reeling from the recession. Continue reading
For years, Amazon has used its size and market power to bully publishers and keep other retailers from competing in the e-book market. And, for years, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has done nothing to constrain Amazon’s abuses or bring about a more competitive marketplace. So it was quite a shock last month when… Continue reading
This white paper examines the growth of internet retailing, Amazon’s increasing share of this market, and the rise of free-riding as consumers browse and ask questions in brick-and-mortar stores and then buy online. The paper presents several recommendations for manufacturers, retailers, and policy-makers. Continue reading
After winning a high-stakes standoff against Amazon last year, publishers are now setting the prices that retailers can charge for their e-books.
At first blush, one might assume that such price-fixing would result in higher prices. But the evidence from more than a dozen European countries, where laws have long prohibited selling both print and electronic books below a set price, clearly shows that publisher-mandated pricing saves consumers money. It also fosters a more lively and competitive book industry, with far more books published and many more independent bookstores open than in countries where big retailers control pricing. Continue reading
Laws in some European countries, most notably Germany, require all bookstores, including online sellers, to sell books at fixed prices. Supporters say outlawing discounts protects independent bookstores and small publishers, which in turn ensures that a broader variety of books are available and that there is less focus on best-sellers. Continue reading