While Amazon and Hachette’s contract battle drags on in the U.S., a similar fight is taking place in Germany between Amazon and book publisher Bonnier. Now 1,188 German, Austrian and Swiss authors have taken a cue from their U.S. counterparts and signed an open letter to Amazon, accusing the retailer of “using authors and their books as leverage” to force larger discounts on ebooks.
Amazon has been delaying Bonnier book shipments (as a result of keeping fewer Bonnier titles in stock). The letter also accuses Amazon of removing Bonnier titles from “Customers Also Bought/Viewed” lists, thus harming discoverability of new authors and misleading customers. The letter is set to run in German, Austrian and Swiss publications Monday, according to the New York Times. “Discussions and demonstrations” are apparently also planned for the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
Book prices in Germany are fixed, so discounting ebooks isn’t allowed. However — as in the U.S. — Amazon wants a larger commission on the Bonnier ebooks it sells. In June, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein) asked German antitrust authorities to investigate the matter. In response, Amazon said at the time, “[Bonnier is] asking us to pay them significantly more when we sell a digital edition than when we sell a print edition of the same title.”