…Not for Hachette or the Big Five
opinion of Mathew Ingram
‘As Amazon continues to tighten the screws on book publishers like Hachette — by making its books difficult to find, impossible to pre-order, and so on — the conventional wisdom seems to be that the company is an aggressive and possibly illegal monopoly aimed at killing publishers, and that its behavior is also bad for authors and probably consumers as well. The only problem with this view is that most of it, if not all of it, is completely wrong. What Amazon is doing is not only good for book-loving consumers but arguably good for authors as well — and even for some publishers (although not Hachette and its ilk).
‘is Amazon a true monopoly? Not in any meaningful sense of the word — not any more than Walmart has a monopoly on sales of toothpaste. Yes, the electronic retailer has a large share of the ebook retailing market, but this is also a market that it effectively invented, because publishers like Hachette and other members of the traditional “Big Five” cartel (formerly the Big Six, before Random House and Penguin merged) showed no interest in doing so…’
Stephen King among signers of anti-Amazon letter
“A lot of pain is being inflicted on innocent third parties,” author Douglas Preston said, referring to authors whose books have been affected.
‘Stephen King, Nora Roberts and Donna Tartt are among the hundreds of authors who have added their names to an online letter criticizing Amazon.com for restricting access to works published by Hachette Book Group.
‘The letter, initiated by Hachette author Douglas Preston, urged Amazon to resolve its standoff with Hachette over e-book prices and other issues. Readers were asked to email Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at email@example.com and “tell him what you think.” Amazon has slowed delivery on books by Preston and other Hachette authors, limited discounts and removed pre-order tags for upcoming releases…’
Do We Have the Right to Resell eBooks?
Major case looms in the Netherlands
‘On Tuesday this week, a local startup called Tom Kabinet opened the virtual doors on its secondhand ebook bookstore. At the moment, it is generally accepted that ebooks cannot be resold, as is the case with music, movies and other digital media.
‘However, Tom Kabinet is pointing to a 2012 ruling by Europe’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the case of UsedSoft v Oracle. That case was about reselling licenses for downloadable software, and the court ruled that – even when the software license explicitly forbids resale – the buyer should have the right to resell that licence, just as they would be allowed to resell a boxed software copy.
‘“The publishers have asked us to stop operating with a deadline of today at 2pm [5am PT],” Tom Kabinet co-founder Laurens van Hoorn told me on Friday. “We’ve let them know that we won’t put the site on black – they basically asked us to take the site offline but we won’t do that.”…’