Reuters reports Russell Grandinetti, vice president for Kindle content on Amazon.com, made the comments during his testimony on the third day of an antitrust trial after the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Apple and five major US publishers in April last year, saying they conspired to fix e-book prices.
Grandinetti said the online retailer could have been barred from selling Kindle e-books on the day physical hardcovers were released unless it gave in to publishers’ terms.
He said in January 2010 Jon Sargent, chief executive of Macmillan publishers, issued him with an ultimatum of either moving to a publisher-controlled model or being delayed in being able to sell new e-books.
"I think I expressed how unpalatable the choice presented was," he said.
By 2009, Amazon controlled 90 per cent of the e-book market, new and bestselling books at US$9.99. It ultimately, however, switched to a publisher-controlled approach similar to Apple’s, which pushed prices up.
Grandinetti said if Amazon could, it would want to sell books for cheaper.
"Certainly if someone offered reseller, we would have taken them up on that offer," he said.