Feeds

Amazon offers Blighty's publishing industry 'assisted suicide'

Do you see a pattern here?

The essential guide to IT transformation

Amazon wants to dictate book prices, and even print copies of publishers' books itself, a report in trade mag Bookseller suggests. UK publishers are, we're told, none too happy.

Over in the US, Amazon is already locked in battle with Hachette, the first publisher whose terms with Amazon are coming up for renegotiation: Amazon has stopped taking preorders for Hachette titles, citing delivery times of weeks or months. It's also kneecapped German publisher Bonnier Media the same way, prompting a complaint to the German competition authority.

We're told the new contracts demand payment for strong placement on the website, and Amazon also wants to dictate the price for the books industry-wide by forbidding suppliers from offering rival retailers lower prices.

Bookseller editor Philip Jones told the BBC that if supply contracts were accepted on such terms, it would be "a form of assisted suicide for the industry".

Amazon's reported demand to control the right to copy, when it wants, is regarded as the equivalent of coming for your first-born. In practical terms, publishers fear readers will blame them for any cock-ups caused by Amazon's print-on-demand machines pumping out tomes.

Publishers are on watch by competition authorities for five years following the settlement of the Apple e-book price-fixing case. Apple had merely promised publishers not to sell books at a loss, and retail prices briefly rose from $8 to $10 before falling back. The Cupertino giant and the publishers involved were later accused of harming consumers.

The settlement effectively granted Amazon a distribution monopoly – or monopsony – which it can now use for further leverage.

Meanwhile, some independent music labels have accused Google of attempting to control music royalties using its dominant YouTube service. Contract details emerged earlier this week.

Amazon has not commented on the Bookseller's report. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
Broadband slow and expensive? Blame Telstra says CloudFlare
Won't peer, will gouge for Internet transit
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
prev story

Whitepapers

Best practices for enterprise data
Discussing how technology providers have innovated in order to solve new challenges, creating a new framework for enterprise data.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?