Publishers and booksellers in France and Scandinavia have told The Bookseller that while Amazon Publishing’s rumoured push into Europe will change the landscape, they are up to the challenge.
Alain Kouck, chairman of Editis, the second-largest French publisher, said: “[The expansion] confirms that Amazon has serious ambitions as a publisher. Even though it is a major player, I am not afraid. These days all professions are open to all, but it does not mean everyone succeeds.”
As in the US, booksellers in France have a firm line against stocking Amazon Publishing titles. Guillaume Husson, director of the French Booksellers Association (Syndicat de la Librairie Française, SLF) said the organisation has no official position yet. But speaking personally, he said in view of the fact that the US group engages in “what we consider [to be] unfair competition, there is very little chance that booksellers would welcome Amazon Publishing with open arms.” Xavier Moni, co-founder and owner of Paris bookshop Comme un Roman, agreed. He said: “It is clear that I will not sell books published by Amazon. The group’s commercial policies are not compatible with those of an independent bookseller.”
In Sweden, few publishers seem worried about Amazon Publishing’s European expansion. “Amazon’s move is a natural one in the rapidly changing book market,” said Magnus Nytell, head of digital publishing at Bonnierförlagen.
Norwegian publishers, however, seem more worried than their Swedish neighbours. “Amazon’s progress in English-speaking territories is a reason for concern in all countries, big or small“, said Kari Spjeldnæs, director of Aschehoug.