Germany sees mixed feelings on Amazon Publishing market entry
April 15, 2014 | 6:25 pm
The launch of Amazon Publishing in Germany, already covered in TeleRead, has elicited some mixed feedback from German publishers, booksellers, and other book market players. As reported in Stuttgarter Nachrichten, some, like Klett-Cotta editorial CEO Michael Zöllner, “do not see any impact on the German book market,” while others, like Mirjam Berle, spokeswoman of Germany’s largest bookstore chain Thalia, say: “the publishers have to fear the market power of Amazon.”
Bookstores are apparently some of the most negative respondents about taking Amazon Publishing titles on board. Stuttgarter Nachrichten quotes one local book vendor as saying she would not “let the Devil into my house.” Another German bookseller, which incidentally has its own online sales platform competing against Amazon.de, agrees, saying “otherwise we are digging our own grave.” Distributors, meanwhile, appear rather more open-minded on the issue, with one, Umbreit, quoted as saying they “have no fear of contact,” provided there is supporting interest from their bookseller clients.
Publishers overall seem to conclude that they have enough brand presence and market knowledge to be able to handle competitive pressure from Amazon Publishing. Head of the Börsenverein, the German booksellers association, Heinrich Rieth Müller is quoted as saying that: “Amazon cannot offer the service of an established publisher … He knows how the trade is ticking and how to make the right marketing.” Whether such self-confidence is justified remains to be seen.