The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has opened an investigation into eBook pricing following a “significant number” of complaints.
In a statement, the OFT said it will be looking into “arrangements between certain publishers and retailers for the sale of eBooks” to discern whether or not they breach competition rules.
The OFT has refused to specify exactly what the investigation involves, but the Wall Street Journal reports it the relates to an “agency pricing model”, which allows publishers to set eBook prices rather than retailers.
According to the WSJ, the move comes after months of wrangling between the two parties over who should control pricing.
But that may contravene the Competition Act 1998, which “prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK”.
“The investigation is at an early stage and it should not be assumed that the parties involved have breached competition law,” the OFT said.