The nation’s largest book distributor was accused by the federal government Monday of overcharging thousands of schools and libraries by up to $200 million.
The Justice Department joined a whistle-blower suit filed against the distributor, Baker & Taylor Inc. More than 90% of the nation’s public libraries buy some or all of their books from Baker & Taylor.
The lawsuit was originally brought by the former head of the Richmond, Va., library system and a former Baker & Taylor salesman. They accused the company of changing the coding on discounted medical and legal texts and overcharging by $2 to $10 per book.
Baker & Taylor, based in Charlotte, N.C., did not immediately return calls.
The lawsuit estimated that the overcharging cost schools, libraries and other public institutions $100 million to $200 million over 10 years, ending in 1993.