German publishers file complaint against Amazon

Jun 24, 2014
Employees work at an Amazon logistics center on March 26, 2014 in Leipzig, eastern Germany

Germany's book industry said Tuesday it had complained to the country's competition watchdog about Internet giant Amazon, accusing it of using "blackmail" to gain discounts from publishers.

The US giant has been delaying delivery of from Sweden's media and publishing group Bonnier, which has 16 publishers in Germany, since early May, the German Publishers' and Booksellers' Association said.

It claimed that Amazon's aim was to negotiate bigger price cuts on the purchase of e-books which the association put at up to 50 percent, a figure for which it cited media reports.

Bonnier, which owns German publishing houses such as Ullstein and Carlsen, has not confirmed it is in any dispute with Amazon, nor the reported details.

"Amazon is breaching anti-trust law with its blackmailing approach to publishing houses," the association's head Alexander Skipis said in a statement.

"Amazon's business conduct doesn't just have consequences for the affected publishers, but represents a danger for all providers and distributors of e-books in Germany," he added.

The German must now decide whether to investigate the complaint.

For more than a year Amazon has been hit by intermittent strike action in Germany, its biggest market outside the United States, in a dispute over pay.

Amazon's employment practices were the subject of a critical documentary broadcast on German public television last year.

The German Publishers' and Booksellers' Association represents the interests of about 6,500 publishing companies, bookshops and booksellers.

Explore further: Global pharma firms grilled about tax in Australia

Related Stories

World's biggest book fair targets internet giants

Oct 08, 2013

Organisers of the world's biggest book fair in Germany warned Tuesday against the domination of Internet giants as the publishing world grapples to blend old and new forms of reading.

Kirshbaum to leave Amazon publishing unit

Oct 25, 2013

Larry Kirshbaum, a high-profile publishing executive who helped Amazon grow its book publishing business in New York, is leaving the company on Jan. 17.

Recommended for you

Hewlett-Packard moves forward with plan to split in two

1 hour ago

Hewlett-Packard is moving forward with plans to split into two companies, filing paperwork to create a new entity that will sell commercial technology, while a separate spinoff will sell personal computers and printers.

Global pharma firms grilled about tax in Australia

17 hours ago

The world's top pharmaceutical companies Wednesday told an Australian parliamentary hearing they were compliant with local and international laws, despite claims they are charging higher prices to minimise tax.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.