Last year I was blogging about the introduction of the 'Agency Model' for e-book pricing that many of the larger publishers had introduced, or were intending to introduce. For anyone new to buying e-books or the agency model you can read it here.
The OFT (Office of Fair Trading) in the UK has opened an investigation into the arrangements between publishers and suppliers for the sale of e-books. This is the result of a 'significent number of complaints', though there is no detail on whether the complaints were individuals or organisations, or both, nor how many.
"The Competition Act 1998 prohibits agreements, practices and conduct that may have a damaging effect on competition in the UK." (OFT statement) There is more but you get the idea...
Just because these agreements are being looked at, it doesn't mean that the publishers and suppliers are guilty of 'any breach of the law'.
(In fact when publishers announced their intentions last autumn many of the larger suppliers made books unavailable until agreements were reached.)
At the end of the investigation a ruling will be made, so what happens then will depend entirely upon the results.
So meanwhile publishers can continue to tell suppliers how much they can sell that publisher's e-book formats for...
As an e-book buyer I'm looking forward to reading the conclusions.