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Börsenverein and PEN Germany deliver #FreeWordsTurkey petition to German government

On February 24, Börsenverein (the German Publishers and Booksellers Association), PEN Germany and Reporters Without Borders delivered the #FreeWordsTurkey petition representatives of the government and the German representative to the UN. The petition gathered 110,047 signatures and calls for a stronger stance against violations of freedom of expression in Turkey.

In a statement published on the website, Börsenverein states that “freedom to form and express an opinion is a non-negotiable human right” and urges the German government and the European Commission “to call for an uncompromising respect for freedom of expression in any related decisions, actions and statements they make” and “to re-evaluate their policies with regard to the countries in question”, meaning those countries that do not respect these basic human rights and pillars of a democratic society.

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The American Booksellers Association supports freedom to publish controversial books.

Amid the strong controversy that currently surrounds Milo Yiannopoulos and the calls for boycotting his book, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) joined the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and other free speech advocates in support of the freedom to publish controversial books.

They issued a joint “Statement in Support of the Right to Publish” in which they argue that “threats to boycott publishers undermine intellectual freedom and harm readers and writers”, since such a boycott will inevitably affect the publisher’s ability to “express and disseminate ideas, even if they are controversial and offensive to some”.

The free speech organisations that signed the document refuse censorship as a way to solve these matters, saying that “we need not endorse the ideas contained in a book to endorse the right to express them”, and warning that “the suppression of noxious ideas does not defeat them; only vigorous disagreement can counter toxic speech effectively. Shutting down the conversation may temporarily silence disfavored views, but does nothing to prevent them from spreading and resurfacing in other ways”.

Click here to read the ABA article

Click here for the joint Statement (PDF)


Following MEP Thun’s report on geo-blocking, EIBF and the European Association of Independent Music Companies Association (IMPALA) expose their views in a joint letter to the MEPs relevant to the dossier.

Both organisations advocate for keeping “services providing access to and use of copyright protected works or other protected subject matter” outside of the scope of the regulation on geo-blocking. They further underline the need for setting the review clause to five years after the entry into effect of the regulation, rather than the two years initially proposed, as this would allow to have more accurate data on the evolution of the e-book market.

Finally, EIBF and IMPALA proposed amendments to the Commission’s proposal in the best interest of their respective sectors’ jobs and investment.

The full text of the letter and of the amendments can be found below.

Click here to read the joint letter                 Click here to read the proposed amendments


Amazon forced to drop anti-competitive clauses from its contracts with publishers

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.

The Commission’s Press Release      The Börsenverein’s Press Release

Creativity Works! welcomes the Opinion of the CULT Committee on the Geo-Blocking Regulation

Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture and Education overwhelmingly voted in favour of Maltese MEP Therese Comodini Cachia’s Draft Opinion yesterday. The Opinion’s objective is to to inform the main responsible Committee (“Internal Market and Consumer Protection” – IMCO) about the possible implications of the legislation can have on the cultural industries.

Among other things, the report highlighted that:

  • Cultural Goods and Services are unique and therefore cannot be treated the same way as traditional goods and services
  • The principle of territoriality is absolutely essential for Europe’s copyright system
  • The proposal could potentially lead to many negative developments such as reducing consumer choice, putting cultural diversity in jeopardy as well as unifying the prices upwards.

The Statement specifically highlights e-Books as products of a nascent and sensitive market which could be shattered by an ill-advised legislation forcing small and medium-sized enterprises to sell to the whole of the EU.

You can read the full Statement here

EIBF is a member of Creativity Works, a coalition of the representatives of the European creative and cultural sectors.

EIBF and FEP welcome the decision of the European Commission on reduced rates of VAT for e-Books

In its proposal submitted today, the European Commission has proposed a new system thereby Member States would be able to apply similarly reduced rates of VAT for electronic books and publications as they are allowed for physical books. The European and International Booksellers Federation and the Federation of European Publishers welcome this proposal, which could finally resolve this long-standing issue.

You can read the EIBF-FEP press release in PDF format here

Boekblad report on EIBF and FEP representing booksellers in Brussels

“Making the Booksellers visible in Europe” is the title of the article in the October issue of Boekblad, the Dutch magazine specialised on the book trade. The article explains in detail how the book sector has to continuously reinvent itself to keep up with competitors, adding that publishers and booksellers play an indispensable role not only in the European economy but also in the cultural and intellectual life of the EU citizens.

Click here to read the article in PDF format

Three more best practices in the Börsenblatt from the EIBF Conference

After the article in last month’s Börsenblatt, the official magazine of the Frankfurt Book Fair has listed three more best practices from our members, as heard at the EIBF Conference held on the 20th of October.

The three new best practices they summarised have been:

  1. Lünebuch’s delivery system
  2. A tool for online cooperation and analysis by the SLF
  3. The “Indie Bloom” in Australia

You can read the article in PDF format here.