After 18 months of negotiations, Amazon has signed an agreement with the Swedish database company Bokrondellen.
The agreement means Amazon can now access metadata from virtually every Swedish publishing house.
The reason the negotiations took so long is that Bokrondellen did not want to give Amazon any advantages over Swedish operators, Christer Perslöv, head of business development at Bokrondellen, said. But he did not comment on whether their demands were finally met, now that the contract has been signed.
“The deal means that Amazon gets full access to all our information about the Swedish books. But after that, it is up to them to decide how they want to use the information – on an existing web site or on a new Swedish one. According to the agreement, they can use the metadata ‘on all their web sites’”, Perslöv said.
The deal was finalised in early March, but has only now become public.
Ola Wallin, publisher at smaller publishing house Ersatz, found out by chance when he accidentally saw one of his books on Amazon.de. “I was of course very surprised, since I had not heard anything more about the negotiations, even though it has been publicly known that they have been in the works. But the news in itself is not really surprising – it was obvious that Amazon would get a deal, the only question was when”, he said.
The majority of the Swedish publishing houses have already decided to deliver to Amazon, as long as the terms are acceptable.
Among retailers, the news was met with a surprising calm – at least publicly – with some saying they hoped Amazon’s entry in Sweden will entail a boost for digital books for all retailers.
The next step for Amazon will be logistics. The company has previously been in touch with Sweden’s biggest logistics company Förlagssystem to negotiate the terms. However, Förlagssystem have not been contacted again by Amazon after the deal with Bokrondellen came through.
The domain Amazon.se is already taken, and the owner has, according to the magazine Internetworld, so far refused every offer from Amazon.
Amazon has declined to comment on their plans for selling Swedish books.