Competition Tribunal issues decision in ebooks matter

News Release

Commissioner focuses on next steps to protect Canadian ebooks consumers

June 10, 2016 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

The Competition Bureau welcomes the Competition Tribunal’s decision today relating to a 2014 consent agreement between the Bureau and four of Canada’s largest ebook publishers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.

The Tribunal’s decision rescinds the 2014 consent agreement and rejects Kobo’s request for an order. The order requested by Kobo would have prevented the Bureau from resolving its competition concerns in the ebooks industry with a new consent agreement.

The consent agreement was intended to remove or amend clauses in distribution agreements with ebook retailers that restrict retail price competition. The issue went to court when Kobo — Canada’s largest retailer of ebooks — filed a third‑party challenge with the Tribunal under subsection 106(2) of the Competition Act.

The Commissioner is now focused on next steps to resolve the competition concerns that continue to exist in the ebooks industry.

Quick Facts

  • The Bureau reached a consent agreement in February 2014 with four of Canada’s largest ebook publishers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster.
  • The decision ends two years of litigation related to Kobo’s challenge to the consent agreement, which was intended to cancel or vary its terms.
  • Today’s decision and the Tribunal’s earlier Reference decision provide clarity to all parties for future consent agreements.

Quote

"I welcome today’s decision by the Tribunal, which is an important step towards ensuring that Canadians can benefit from retail price competition for ebooks in Canada."

John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

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