August 18, 2014, 3:44 PM

Amazon faces a backlash from German-language authors

Another dispute over e-book prices sets the e-retailer against Swiss publisher Bonnier.

Writers based in Germany have joined what is now a global chorus of complaints about tactics employed by Inc. in its dispute with publishers over the price of digital books sold by the e-retailer.

At least 1,000 writers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland signed a letter to Amazon about its alleged retaliation against Swiss publishing firm Bonnier Group over its e-book pricing policy. The e-retailer, No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s Europe 500 guide, punished Bonnier authors by removing them from recommended reading lists and delaying orders of their books, according to the letter.

The German-language letter, which can be found here follows the release earlier this month of a similar letter in the United States from some 900 authors that says “we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want.” In the United States, Amazon and Hachette Book Group are fighting over the price of e-books.

Like the case with Hachette, Amazon accuses  Bonnier of unnecessarily inflating the prices of its digital books.

In a statement that echoes its response to Hachette, Amazon says: “For the majority of their titles, Bonnier has chosen to set terms that make it significantly more expensive for us to buy a digital edition than it is to buy the print edition of the same title. This is a poor choice because with an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, and no transportation.”

Bonnier offered no immediate comment to the Amazon statement.



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