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An Amazon warehouse outside Paris. Photo: Philippe Lopez /AFP via Getty Images

America's librarians are taking a feud with Amazon and other publishers to Congress as lawmakers investigate competition in digital markets.

Driving the news: The American Library Association said libraries are struggling to acquire ebooks because of an "abuse of market power by dominant firms," as part of a report for the House Judiciary Committee's digital markets investigation that was made public Thursday.

  • Titles from Amazon Publishing, the retailing giant's own publishing house, are not available to libraries at any price or terms, according to the report.
  • "That’s a basic digital divide problem," said Alan Inouye, ALA senior director of public policy and government relations. "The only people who can get access to their books are the people who can afford to buy them."
  • The report also takes aim at Macmillan Publishers, which is rolling out a new policy that will limit libraries to one copy of newly released ebooks, with an eight-week wait time before buying additional copies.
  • More broadly, the report accused digital publishers of "abusive pricing" of ebooks for libraries.

What's next: Inouye said he would like to see the committee investigate further and perhaps hold a hearing on the topic.

  • But Steve Potash, founder and CEO of library ebook and audiobook supplier OverDrive, said he's not sure there's a legislative fix. He says Amazon is treating libraries as if they are a competitive threat.
  • "Amazon is utilizing its commercial dominance to create a competition with our nation’s libraries," Potash said. "That’s who they’re competing with."
"When libraries feel like they’re not given an equal access to merchandise to promote and recommend what to read next, then they feel like it’s a challenge to their mission."
— Steve Potash
  • Amazon and Macmillan did not respond to requests for comment.

Go deeper

More than a dozen injured in downtown Austin shooting

Police tape in Austin, Texas in 2018. Photo: y Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A shooting in a busy part of downtown Austin, Texas, early Saturday injured at least 13 people, including two who are in critical condition.

The state of play: Gunfire erupted around 1:30 a.m. along 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants. The suspected shooter remains at large, Austin police said. "It is unknown if there is one, or multiple suspects involved," they noted, adding the shooting appears to be an isolated incident.

Biden to urge G7 to take unified approach to countering China

Photo: Hollie Adams/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Saturday is expected to urge fellow G7 leaders to adopt a unified approach to countering China's rising global influence, AP reports.

Driving the news: The G7 leaders are set to unveil a multi-billion-dollar global infrastructure plan aimed at rivaling Beijing's efforts in the developing world.

Why America's post-vaccine summer is off to a slow start

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are itching to put pandemic life behind them, but many of the necessary ingredients for a summer of carefree fun — everything from neighborhood pools to car rentals — still aren't fully available.

The big picture: Labor shortages, scrambled supply chains and simple logistics are all making it harder for a whole range of businesses to meet post-pandemic demand, and that’s making “hot vax summer” a little harder to pull off.