Authors Guild: Amazon's Kindle Owners' Lending Library is "Nonsense"
November 16, 2011 12:35 PM
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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.
The Authors Guild
The Christian Science Monitor
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RE: So Mad!
11/16/2011 5:49:50 PM
as an author myself (independent), i appreciate the lending feature. after all, i might get a new, paying fan this way.
and with the low amount i charge for my books, that is a real possibility.
if however, you price your books at 15.99 (more than paperback copies, in some case), then you really shouldn't wonder why people pirate your stuff, and refuse o give you any of their hard earned money.
and one more thing: with publishing available to anyone (amazon, smashwords), and with online editing and proof-reading services, who still uses a publisher? i mean, what do they do??
RE: So Mad!
11/16/2011 7:49:45 PM
i mean, what do they do??
The only useful thing they do, as I see it, and possibly moreso in the future, is filter the wheat from the chaff. Every one and their dog could publish a book, but hopefully only those interesting and worth reading would get through a publisher.
At least, thats how they can stay relevant in the future, in my view. Without some sort of filter, the market will look like the android app store eventually. A billion apps ranked by popularity, with BS like porn taking top spots, occasional gems up top, while other gems are burried hundreds of spots down due to being relative unknowns.
RE: So Mad!
11/25/2011 11:56:15 AM
everyone and their dog can already publish books; look at stephenie meyer/dan brown...
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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