Wednesday, 11 August 2010

French Retailers Ask For Nationalized eBook Hub French Retailers Plea With Government For Price-Controls, Government Regulations On eBooks

Five of the biggest French book retailers held a joint-press conference
last week in which they declared that France should have a national
eBook platform or hub where all publishers and retailers would work
together to sell e
Books. This obviously comes after Amazon's dominance with the Kindle
ecosystem.
The booksellers also asked the French government to extend price
controls that exist on current books to eBooks, to slow competition. The
CEO of company Decitre gave the example that a eBook hub will exist
without the government's intervention, but will likely be run and owned
by Amazon or Apple.
They cited an incident in which Amazon used the Whispernet 3G
connections built into every Kindle to remove a copy of Orwell's 1984
from users' Kindles. The Chinese censorship controversy was also
referenced. A similar system exists in Germany, where a single hub,
endorsed by the government and run by a collective of retailers.
However, short of government intervention, such a hub would require the
assistance of the publishers, and the French ones have balked at the
idea. The head of France's largest publisher, Hachette Livre, said while
he wouldn't be opposed to a single eBook hub that served all eBook
readers and their users, he thought himself and the retailers had
different goals.
The French retailers are obviously worried about Amazon and their
near-monopoly on eBooks for the Kindle, as well as the impending Apple
tablet and rumored publishing deals with newspapers and magazines.
Dedicated bookseller stores have always depended on the 'power reader'
who buys 20 books a year.
With many of those readers moving to eBook readers, booksellers are
losing their biggest customers. Amazon's wide selection of eBooks for
the Kindle have made little incentive for customers to go elsewhere
outside of Amazon.com for their books.
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