|Amazon.com Seeks To Protect Its Everyday 50% Discount On New York Times Best Sellers|
SEATTLE, June 4--/PRNewswire/--Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN), facing threats of legal action from The New York Times, has asked the U.S. District Court in Seattle to allow Amazon.com to continue advertising and selling New York Times Best Sellers at 50% off list price.
Amazon.com announced its 50%-off pricing on May 17, and on May 28,The New York Times alleged in a letter to Amazon.com that it was infringing on the newspaper's copyright and trademark by using the list. The New York Times demanded that Amazon.com cease using the list and stop promoting the fact that Amazon.com sells each week's New York Times Best Sellers at an everyday low price of 50% off. (The New York Times is in a book-selling business arrangement with Barnes & Noble.)
The New York Times Best Seller list is widely used in the book-selling industry as an indicator of the most popular books being bought nationwide. Book buyers, therefore, can easily use the list to make price comparisons on the bestselling books: If a book is on the list, it is guaranteed to be 50% off at Amazon.com.
In its court filing late Thursday, Amazon.com asked for declaratory relief that would allow the company to continue to reference The New York Times' Best Seller lists to promote lower prices for customers.
The Amazon.com 50% discount, which is not a sale or short-term promotion but everyday low pricing, applies to hardcover and paperback titles in the Best Seller list's three generic categories: fiction, nonfiction, and miscellaneous--at least 68 titles each week at 50% off.
As a result, a hardcover bestseller such as The Century, by Peter Jennings, which lists for $60, sells for just $30.00; Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, by Terry Brooks, which lists for $25.00, is just $12.50; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling, regularly lists for $16.95 but is now $8.48; We'll Meet Again, by Mary Higgins Clark, goes from $25.00 to $12.50; Business @ the Speed of Thought: Using a Digital Nervous System, by Bill Gates, from $30.00 to $15.00; and Suzanne Somers' Eat Great, Lose Weight, by Suzanne Somers, from $15.00 to $7.50.
Amazon.com customers continue to receive savings of up to 40% on millions of other bestselling and harder-to-find books.
Amazon.com operates two international Web sites: www.amazon.co.uk in the United Kingdom and www.amazon.de in Germany. Amazon.com also operates PlanetAll (www.planetall.com), a Web-based address book, calendar, and reminder service. It also operates the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), the Web's comprehensive and authoritative source of information on more than 150,000 movies and entertainment programs and 500,000 cast and crew members dating from the birth of film in 1892 to the present. Amazon.com also operates LiveBid.com (www.livebid.com), the sole provider of live-event auctions on the Internet.
In addition, Amazon.com has invested in leading Internet retailers that are improving the lives of customers by making shopping easier and more convenient: drugstore.com, a complete online provider of health, beauty, wellness, and prescription-drug products, at www.drugstore.com; Pets.com, the largest pet-supply company on the Internet and a valuable source of free information for pet owners, at www.pets.com; HomeGrocer.com, the first fully integrated Internet grocery-shopping and home-delivery service, with operations in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, at www.homegrocer.com.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, Amazon.com's limited operating history, anticipated losses, unpredictability of future revenues, potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results, seasonality, consumer trends, competition, risks of system interruption, management of potential growth, risks related to auction services, and risks of new business areas, international expansion, business combinations, and strategic alliances. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 1998 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 1999.
Amazon.com, Amazon.com Auctions, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Internet Movie Database, PlanetAll, Earth's Biggest Selection, Bid-Click and 1-Click are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc., or its affiliates. All other names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.