After a complaint filed by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein) and by the Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland, Amazon has finally decided to stop putting so-called “parity clauses” (aka. MFN clauses) in its contracts, which obliged publishers to inform Amazon if they were to offer retailers better terms than to the American giant, and subsequently to offer the same improved terms to them. Such clauses posed a direct threat to healthy competition in the e-book sector and subsequently to the quality and quantity of books on offer in bookshops. Amazon’s decision is therefore a huge victory for the book sector and for the European culture at large.
The European Commission is now asking members of the e-book sector to provide feedback on whether Amazon’s commitments are sufficient enough to restore healthy competition to the market.
The news came only days after a subsidiary of Amazon, Audible – following yet another complaint by the Börsenverein – has given up on its problematic exclusivity deals with Apple concerning audio-books.