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.
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”.
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.Read more