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Amazon’s Contract with Dutch Publishers Under New Scrutiny.

Amazon hasn’t launched the Kindle Store in the Netherlands yet, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the kvetching.

Writing for Boekblad, media lawyer Hans Bousie reports that he saw a copy of the contract which Amazon has signed with CB Logistics, the main ebook distributor in the Netherlands, and he has a problem with one of the clauses:

Maximum Price: The maximum customer price for any eBook will be no greater than the lowest priced physical edition.

Amazon is well-known for pushing for pricing restrictions on their suppliers. They’ve long set the 70% royalty option in KDP so most books would be priced in the range of $3 to $10, and in other markets Amazon has secured either a most favored nation clause or some other clause which gives Amazon wiggle room on the price.

And the stock contract in the Netherlands includes a ceiling on the price of ebooks. Given that the Netherlands has a fixed price law for books which does not extend to ebooks, that could prove to be a smart move for Amazon.  It will enable Amazon to match the price of the Kindle edition to the sale price of the print edition, thus saving consumers money.

And if Dutch publishers want to keep ebook prices high they will have to keep the print prices higher.

It’s not completely clear to me how that will impact the book market, but if the nothing else, the new critique of the contract terms tells us that the launch of a local Kindle Store in the Netherlands is that much more real than it was yesterday.

image by archer10

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Chris Meadows November 6, 2014 um 10:15 am

I say good for Amazon. Wish the e-book vendors of the ’90s and ’00s had the power to insist on such a clause with the publishers…

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