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Kindle Unlimited Under Fire in France

amazon_fr_logo-10315636_std[1]Kindle Unlimited is quickly becoming a contentious issue among indie authors, and now it looks like the service could be illegal in France.

AFP reported on Monday that Fleur Pellerin, the French Minister of Culture, wants to have ebook subscription services investigated. The minister is quoted as saying that "La loi de 2011 établit une règle: c’est l’éditeur qui fixe le prix de vente du livre numérique. A ce titre, l’offre proposée par Kindle Unlimited ne semble pas conforme à la loi", which in English roughly translates to:

The 2011 law establishes a rule it is the publisher that sets the digital book sales price As such, the offer proposed by Kindle Unlimited does not seem consistent with the law.

2258988806_906949f2b7_b[1]She could well be right, but you’ll have to get a French lawyer to confirm that interpretation is valid. I can’t see any reason it wouldn’t be, but there are nuances to any country’s laws which are only obvious to an expert.

Kindle Unlimited launched in France two weeks ago with around 20,000 titles in French and over 700,000 titles in English and other languages. The vast majority of the titles are drawn from KDP Select, and while you might think that contract would cover Amazon’s legal ass I am not so sure.

The fact that KDP Select requires exclusivity may itself present a roadblock in Europe. Many countries in western Europe have a fixed price book law. I’m not up to date on the nuances of each country’s laws, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those laws forbid exclusive deals.

Can anyone answer that question?

image  by danielbroche

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Ebook Bargains UK December 24, 2014 um 1:49 am

Why would the KDP contract cover Amazon’s legal ass?

As self-publishers WE set the price when we upload to KDP. We clearly set the price at a set numerical value in the KDP dashboard. The fact that we agree by entering into the contract to let Amazon do what they like does is not a free pass to ignore laws in other lands.

The exceptions in KU France will be the Amazon imprint titles, where clearly Amazon as publisher has set the price.

Meantime let’s prepare ourselves for the standard cries of governments protecting bookstore owners and big publishers.

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