Recent developments in the discussions around the proposed Geo-blocking Regulation in the European Parliament committees are a cause for great concern for the book industry. In a joint letter sent by EIBF & FEP to all IMCO MEPs, the book industry reiterates its request to exclude non-audiovisual copyrighted-content from the scope of the regulation. The letter also draws MEP’s attention to some very important clarifications regarding the technicalities of e-book sales by booksellers, which so far, seem to be have been very often ignored or misunderstood.
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.
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.
EIBF is a member of Creativity Works, a coalition of the representatives of the European creative and cultural sectors.
The European & International Booksellers Federation – EIBF – and the Federation of European Publishers – FEP – welcome the compromise text voted by the Competitiveness Council, at its meeting of 28 November.
The Federation of European Publishers (FEP), supported by the International Publishers Association (IPA) and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF), issue a common statement calling for the immediate release of Aslı Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay.
“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.
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:
- Lünebuch’s delivery system
- A tool for online cooperation and analysis by the SLF
- The “Indie Bloom” in Australia
Börsenblatt, the official magazine of the Frankfurt Book Fair, has published an article listing the best practices heard at the EIBF Conference in Frankfurt, to be followed up by three more in next month’s edition.
This month, the magazine detailed the following ideas:
- The Swedish Loyalty Program by Maria Hammerfors, CEO of Akademikbokhandeln
- The Local-First Initiative by Betsy Burton, owner of “The King’s English Bookshop” (United States)
- The “Book Bus” by Rosamund de la Hey from the “Mainstreet Trading Company”, UK.
THE EUROPEAN & INTERNATIONAL BOOKSELLERS FEDERATION DENOUNCES THE JUDGEMENT OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION ON E-LENDING
The EIBF – European & International Booksellers Federation – has taken note of the judgment handed down by the ECJ with the greatest concern.
Assimilating e-lending to the lending of physical books is a very dangerous decision which does not take into account the economic reality of the book chain and is likely to lead to serious disruptions on the nascent e-book market.
Booksellers have committed themselves wholeheartedly to e-bookselling, in order to be able to offer readers the possibility to read what they want, when they want, and in the format of their choice. Today, between 70% and 87% of booksellers are present on the e-book market, especially on the leading language markets such as those of Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands and Spain.
However, the e-book market is still a very uncertain one and at the present time, no retailer can claim that selling e-books and e-readers on national markets is a profitable activity.
For centuries, the activities of selling and lending have been able to co-exist and strengthen each other to the mutual benefit of both communities and readers. Things have changed recently with the emergence of e-books and e-readers. The book chain has been working at solutions which are sustainable for authors, publishers and booksellers while guaranteeing a healthy and diverse offer to consumers, and this should be continued.
European libraries are a great asset for consumers and play a major part in the promotion of literacy and cultural life more generally. Booksellers very much value the crucial role of public libraries. The common objective of booksellers and libraries is to put books into the hands of readers so bookshops and libraries play complementary roles in the community.
However this can only be possible if the eco-system of the book sector, a chain of interdependencies where all members are dependent on each other, is fully respected for the ultimate benefit of readers.
EIBF looks forward to continuing to work in that direction, along with the book chain and European decision-makers.
For further information please contact EIBF Director, Fran Dubruille
email@example.com or + 32 475 40 32 34
The Börsenverein has published a press release for the occasion that on the 1st of December, 2016, Dr. Kyra Dreher will step down from her role as Co-President of the European and International Booksellers Federation to take up the position of Managing Director of the Joint Office of the Börsenverein’s Committees.
“Dr. Kyra Dreher, who previously functioned as head of the office of the Retail Booksellers Committee, will become sole Managing Director of the Börsenverein’s Joint Office of the Committees starting on 1st December. Rolf Nüthen, who acted as head of the Publishers Committee since 2008, will retire on 30th November. In her new capacity, Dreher will be responsible for the work of the Committees as well as for coordinating the interest groups and acting as the interface between these groups and the executive board. In the future, the three member groups will be represented at the Joint Office by three department heads: Petra Fust will manage the Publishers section, Kerstin Rothkirch the Retail Booksellers section and Sarah Harnecker the Wholesalers section. The amendment to the Börsenverein charter required to institute these changes was already approved at the Annual General Meeting on 24th June 2016.”