Claims of Audible clash with German publishers

Claims of Audible clash with German publishers

Audible is alleged to be threatening to delist any German publishers which do not agree to new contract terms, according to a report in German news magazine Der Spiegel.

The magazine has claimed that Amazon’s audiobook arm Audible wants German publishers to agree to a digital flat rate model, among other terms, in the new contracts. Any publishers which do not sign the new contracts are threatened with delisting, the magazine said.

Amazon holds 90% of the German downloadable audiobook market and a group of affected publishers are said to be considering a complaint to the German Federal Antitrust Authority about the issue.

The German Booksellers Association filed a complaint to German competition authorities about Amazon last July, which was supported by the European and International Booksellers Federation.

Nils Rauterberg, general manager Audible in Germany, said the company does not share details of its business relationships.

In a statement, he said: "Audiobooks need to compete with an increasingly rich and diverse set of digital entertainment options – social media, casual games, and increasingly, subscription services for books, music and video.  As the inventor of the digital audio category, we’ve invented on behalf of authors, publishers, and consumers for two decades, and that’s what we’re doing again – innovating so that audiobooks and their creators continue to thrive."

He added: "We work with thousands of audiobook content providers and we value these partnerships immensely, which is why we do not share the details of those business relationships; however, I can assure that many are excited about where we are headed and have agreed to work with us as we introduce new business models that will continue to grow the category.”