Bob LiVolsi, founder of independent e-book retailer Books On Board, grabbed the spotlight at the MediaBistro eBook Summit, charging with “predatory Pricing” and lamented the lack of antitrust enforcement in today's marketplace. LiVolsi was a part of a panel on consumer e-book buying patterns along with Andrew Weinstein of Ingram Digital that was moderated by this reporter.

LiVolsi received a rousing ovation from the audience when he charged Amazon with attempting to dominate the market for e-books by its unilateral imposition of a $9.99 price for many frontlist e-books, a controversial pricing policy that is opposed by most big trade publishing houses. LiVolsi was outspoken in his criticism of Amazon’s e-book pricing practices, noting that the “mathematics of its pricing just don’t hold up.” LiVolsi also charged that Amazon’s pricing policy would eventually hurt authors by bringing down book prices and author royalties and destroying the ability of writers to earn a living from their works.

In a followup question, LiVolsi said he didn’t believe that the lower pricing attracted new consumers to buy e-books. He said that consumers would likely change their minds about the $9.99 price once they begin see and understand the consequences of this policy on authors.