By Siobhan O’Leary
As Amazon publicly seeks PR experts to market the Kindle program in Germany, speculation is on the rise that a dedicated German Kindle store is on the horizon. For real this time.
To this point, Kindle customers on the search for German-language books have more or less been left out in the cold. Until recently, the German selection in the international Kindle store was limited to titles in the public domain and some e-books from smaller German publishers and imprints. Yet bestsellers from large publishers have been conspicuously absent.
But according to buchreport, Random House and other major German publishers have signed contracts with Amazon over the last few months and started to add their titles to the international store. The publication adds that Bertelsmann subsidiary, Arvato Systems, has delivered titles in the four-figure range. Heyne also now has 400 titles available in the international Kindle store, all generally priced between 20 and 45% less than their respective paperback editions. It has priced Dean Koontz’s Meer der Finsternis [“Odd Hours”] a mere 19% below its paperback edition.
It still remains to be seen whether German titles in the Kindle store will also be sold via the iPad’s Kindle app. Buchreport’s search revealed that this is at least not yet possible.
Though there is no explicit reference to Germany’s fixed book price in the contracts signed with German publishers thus far, Amazon has been offering contracts on an agency model basis. Publishers are, however, restricted from charging more than 70% of the cheapest print edition of a title (though, as buchreport points out, Heyne’s pricing proves that this point has been negotiable for Amazon).