German book publishers 'not scared' of Amazon

FRANKFURT, GERMANY: Germany's book publishers are ready to face down competition from online retailer Amazon as the retailer is probed by the European Union of its tax deals, pricing disputes and market dominance.
Head of the German Publishers' and Booksellers' Association Heinrich Riethmuller says publishers are "not scared" of Amazon or its threat to boycott online sales. Image:
Head of the German Publishers' and Booksellers' Association Heinrich Riethmuller says publishers are "not scared" of Amazon or its threat to boycott online sales. Image: Boersenverein
Ahead of the opening of the biggest international book fair in Frankfurt, Heinrich Riethmueller said booksellers in Europe's top economy felt confident about online and over-the-counter businesses.

"Amazon has been a hot topic in German publishing in the last year over its working conditions and tax dealings, as well as its e-book price war with Scandinavian publishing house Bonnier, a major company in the German sector," Riethmueller said.

"I can say, clearly, the German book trade is not afraid of Amazon," Riethmueller, President of the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, told reporters.

"We are confident. We've learned a great deal in the last years. Twenty years ago the book trade was the first branch that directly dealt with online commerce. We have done our homework and can do both online and offline sales," he said, adding online business was estimated to account for about 16% of the German book market, of which between 50% and 70% goes through Amazon.

In August more than 1,000 German-language writers signed a petition protesting against the methods used by Amazon in its e-book price battle with Bonnier.

The authors have have accused Amazon of delaying the release of books and boycotting authors signed to publishing houses that have lodged a dispute with the US company.

They took their cue from US writers involved in a similar protest over Amazon's e-book dispute with Hachette publishing house.

The five-day Frankfurt book fair is expected to draw more than 7,000 exhibitors from around the world to the west German city.

Source: AFP via I-Net Bridge


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