From the Wall Street Journal (content may be behind a paywall):
The Authors Guild, the country’s largest advocacy group for writers, met with Justice Department officials in early August, people familiar with the matter said. The Guild, which has more than 8,500 members, raised concerns that Amazon is violating antitrust law as it puts pressure on Hachette Book Group in a dispute over revenue from e-books.
The meeting took place after the Authors Guild emailed Bill Baer, head of the antitrust division of the Justice Department, requesting that the department open an investigation into Amazon, one of the people said.
Meanwhile, Authors United, a separate group that counts more than 1,000 members, including some of the country’s most prominent writers, said it is readying a letter it intends to send to the Justice Department—also requesting an investigation into Amazon’s business practices.
The government has intervened in the e-book industry before.
In 2012, the government filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against five publishers and Apple Inc., accusing them of conspiring to raise digital-book prices. The five settled, paving the way for Amazon and other retailers to resume discounting e-books. Apple went to trial, was found liable in a civil case, and is appealing.
Sending a request to the Justice Department, however, may be a more sensitive matter to some members of Authors United. Mr. Preston, in an interview, said that a dozen or so writers have already contacted him requesting that their names not appear on a letter requesting DOJ intervention.
Read more over at the WSJ.
It’s worth noting that the WSJ pointed out that the DOJ has intervened in the ebook industry before, specifically the collusion case against Apple and the Fivetones. While the WSJ did manage to get the number of publishers correct, they failed to identify Hachette as one of the named defendants. That is surely an unfortunate oversight.