International Booksellers Strongly Support German Complaint Against Amazon

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The following statement was released on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, by the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF):

The European and International Booksellers Federation today announced its strong support for the decision by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) to file an official complaint against Amazon with the German Federal Antitrust Authority.

While acknowledging the existence of different laws regarding competition in the member states of the European Union and internationally, the European and International Booksellers Federation has always strongly supported the position that consumers must have wide access to a rich and varied network of retailers.

Consumers must be able to buy their books at the bookshop and in the format of their choice. The more bookshops there are — whether bricks-and-mortar or online — the richer is the offering to consumers, who benefit from a variety of shopping opportunities and sales channels. In a robust, diverse retail landscape, consumers can choose to buy their books locally or online, in the high street or in specialized bookshops, and in the format of their choice.

Consumers are the ultimate losers when single companies abuse a dominant market position to impose unfair business conditions on providers. Conversely, consumers and societies benefit when retailers are operating on a level playing field and there is healthy competition among them.

The European and International Booksellers Federation strongly believes that public policies should promote a competitive business environment so that consumers can have access to a broad array of retailers and a wide range of books in all formats.

Dr. Kyra Dreher, managing director of the Retail Booksellers Committee, Boersenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, vice president in charge of legal affairs at EIBF, commented: “Amazon's business practices have an effect not only on those publishers presently involved; they can also pose a threat to all e-book sellers and distributors in the respective countries”

Fabian Paagman, CEO of Paagman Boekhandel in The Hague and Board member of the Koninklijke Boekverkopersbond, vice president in charge of digital affairs at EIBF, declared: “Europe stands for a free and open market space with fair competition securing a variety of booksellers to offer a broad range of titles — both online as offline. As a member of EIBF, the Royal Dutch Booksellers association strongly supports the action taken upon by our German colleagues to secure this fundamental right.”

Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association, vice president for international affairs at EIBF, commented: “Increasingly, the international book industry is being held hostage by a company far more interested in selling flat screen TVs, diapers, and groceries. It is clear that Amazon is prepared to sacrifice a diverse publishing ecosystem to achieve retail dominance. That’s not good for authors, readers, or our society, no matter what country you live in.”