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Evanston bookstore sues Amazon

Alleges a "classic antitrust price fixing scheme."

The interior of the Bookends and Beginnings store at 1712 Sherman Ave. in an image from the store's Facebook page.

Without a doubt, it is a modern-day version of David vs. Goliath. Bookends and Beginnings, a small independent bookstore in Evanston, has filed a lawsuit against sales and delivery behemoth Amazon.

The suit claims Amazaon has engaged in a “classic antitrust price fixing scheme.”

Bookends and Beginnings owner Nina Barrett told Evanston Now she is “trying to represent the little bookstores which go out and fight every day” to stay in business competing with Amazon.

Barrett is hoping the lawsuit will be declared a class action case by a court, bringing in other independent bookstores around the nation. “I can never stop … [Amazon] alone, but somebody has to stand up and say this is not right.”

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in New York City by the Hagens Berman law firm and its Chicago based co-counsel, Sperling and Slater. Eamon Kelly of Evanston is one of the Sperling and Slater attorneys involved in the case.

A release from the law firms said Amazon and five major publishers “colluded” to restrain competition in the sale of books. The lawsuit claims that the defendants “fix the wholesale price of books and prevent Amazon’s competitors from competing on price or product availability.”

Dozens of independent bookstores nationwide have closed since the coronavirus outbreak began last year, continuing a trend which was exacerbated by competition from Amazon, competition which Nina Barrett says is unfair.

Barrett says she is “proud, honored, and happy” to be the named plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We want to be a physical space and a browsing place,” she says. “That is not what Amazon does.”

Evanston Now has reached out to Amazon for a comment but we have not yet heard back.

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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