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Updated: Amazon Responds to Criticism from German Authors

moretoys2[1]In response to yesterday’s open letter from German authors, Amazon reiterated today that it is fighting with German publishers over the terms and conditions of its ebook contracts.

I do not yet have an English language statement from Amazon, but from what Buch Report is reporting Amazon’s response is largely the same as the statement it released in relation to the antitrust complaint which was filed in June.

Amazon is reportedly pushing for contract terms for ebooks that are similar to the terms for paper books. Pointing out that ebooks have no printing, returns, inventory, and delivery costs (a disingenuous statement), Amazon argues that ebooks can and should be offered cheaper than print books.

On a related note, I was recently reminded that Amazon charges KDP authors for delivery costs for Kindle ebooks, and they also deduct for returned ebooks.  No returns or delivery costs, hmm?

Amazon has been in dispute with Bonnier since May 2014. With both the industry leaks and Amazon’s statements saying that the contract renegotiation is stuck on the point of ebook prices, this is a very different fight from the ongoing disagreement with Hachette. The latter situation came as a result of an expired contract (or so Amazon says) and may cover more than simply the price and terms for ebooks published by Hachette Book Group.

The situation in German has also grown to include an antitrust complaint, and as of yesterday an open letter which, at last count, has been signed by nearly 600 authors.

I am currently awaiting a response from Amazon. For more details on the latest issue in Germany, check out my post from yesterday.

And here is Amazon’s response:

For the majority of their titles, Bonnier have chosen to set terms that make it significantly more expensive for us to buy a digital edition than it is to buy the print edition of the same title. This is a poor choice because with an e-book, there’s no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, and no transportation. E-books can and should be less expensive than print books, and this should be reflected in the terms under which booksellers buy their books from publishers. The fact is Bonnier’s terms are out of step with other major German publishers. We are working diligently with Bonnier to reach a new agreement more in line with typical industry terms in Germany.


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Adi August 15, 2014 um 11:56 am

Perhaps they mean there is no delivery cost _for the publisher_. There is likely to be a much smaller – but not insignificant – delivery cost for Amazon since they have to manage all the cloud infrastructure for whispersync, drm, etc.

Adi August 15, 2014 um 11:59 am

And the "nearly 600 authors" part links to an article from 2009. Wrong link?

Nate Hoffelder August 15, 2014 um 12:06 pm

Well that was weird. Fixed it.

Felipe Adan Lerma August 16, 2014 um 5:43 am

I still think the Hachette dispute also concerns rights/options and maybe exclusivity to stream popular movies and music from properties they control, esp via Disney, with whom there’s also now an ongoing negotiation. But just guess work on my part.

Be interesting the see the followup articles re the German authors situation. Thanks!

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