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Amazon is paying the publishers for each book that is loaned out, but publishers also want a a say in how their books are used

November has been a huge month for Amazon with the addition of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library to Amazon Prime memberships and the release of its first Kindle Fire tablet just yesterday. But with much success comes a few bumps in the road, and the Authors Guild is working to provide such obstacles in Amazon's road to success.

The Authors Guild, which is a non-profit American organization of and for authors, criticized Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library in a post dated November 14 on its own website.

According to the Authors Guild, Amazon blatantly disregarded the wishes of some U.S. trade book publishers by offering their books in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library after they denied Amazon this privilege.

The Authors Guild's statement on its website described Amazon's process of approaching large U.S. book publishers earlier this year for permission to offer their books in the lending program. According to the Authors Guild, the six largest U.S. book publishers -- Random House, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillan -- turned Amazon down. None of the Big Six's books are in the lending library.

Amazon reportedly went to the next tier of book publishers to seek permission from them, and many rejected its request.

But the Authors Guild notes that Amazon disregarded these rejections and placed books from these publishers into the lending library anyway. It said Amazon got away with this by twisting the interpretation of contracts the online retailer has with publishers. According to Amazon's supposed understanding of these contracts, it's only required to pay publishers the wholesale price of the books downloaded, so it can sell e-books at any price (including giving them away) as long as it pays the publishers.

As it turns out, Amazon is paying the publishers for each book that is loaned out. However, the point that the Authors Guild is making is that publishers don't just want money -- they want a say in how their books are used as well.

"From our understanding of Amazon's standard contractual terms, this is nonsense," said the Authors Guild. "Publishers did not surrender this level of control to the retailer. Amazon's boilerplate terms specifically contemplate the sale of e-books, not giveaways, subscriptions, or lending (Amazon does have a lending program that some publishers have authorized, but it's a program that allows customers -- not Amazon -- to lend their puchased e-books)."

The Authors Guild instructed authors who have found their books in Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library against their permission to contact their publisher as well as the Authors Guild's attorneys.

In other related news, The Christian Science Monitor reported yesterday that the Kindle Fire tablet could top 5 million sales in two months. With a hit on Amazon's hands, which could expedite the success of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, publishers have a heavy battle ahead of them.

Sources: The Authors Guild, The Christian Science Monitor

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RE: So Mad!
By adiposity on 11/16/2011 1:38:39 PM , Rating: 3
you just have to "love" how they want more control over a digital copy then an actual physical book. and since in most cases you are paying the same for a digital copy as you would the actual book.. you should be able to do with it anything you can with the physical book.

The book doesn't offer any easy way to exercise control. Digital copies do. The industry actually wants to use DRM to create an environment that benefits them more than the physical book environment would.

However, digital copies also offer easy ways to completely lose control. In order to prevent this, controls have to be given to the publishers. But once they get them, we see how they abuse them (or want to abuse them, at least).

RE: So Mad!
By qwerty1 on 11/16/2011 1:49:15 PM , Rating: 3
Unlike music torrent downloads, the book publishers are getting money for each and every copy of the book loaned out. And they're still complaining???

What next? Stipulate that every reader can only read x words per minute, no skipping pages, pay extra monthly subscriptions for unlimited re-reads???

I doubt even the RIAA would object if they were getting cash for every download.

RE: So Mad!
By pixelslave on 11/16/2011 9:20:56 PM , Rating: 3
What do you expect? These are the same folks who want a share from used book sales.

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