German Buch News: Cheaper Sony E-reader, Reuss Still Ranting

In Feature Articles, German Buch News, News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

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On the heels of Amazon’s recent price reduction for the Kindle in the US (to $299), Sony has just lowered its recommended price of its Reader in Germany by 17% to 249 Euros (from 299 Euros). Buchreport reveals that Thalia.de, Germany’s largest bookstore chain, has not only embraced the change but has taken it a step further: customers who purchase a Sony Reader by August 30 will get two receive two free e-book downloads, as well as a 100 Euro travel voucher. With Vodafone Germany set to launch a much-hyped reader in the fall, is this a strategic move to ward off competition and tie customers to the Sony device or merely a sign of a decline in demand?

Yesterday’s copyright conference at Frankfurt’s Literaturhaus featured a heated debate about the Heidelberger Appell (Heidelberg Pamphlet, see our editorial from last Friday), reports Boersenblatt. Some 200 participants listened as literature professor Roland Reuss railed against the “open access” model and Google’s digitization project. Reuss restated his claim that uncontrolled digitization of books is a threat to culture, with publishers serving as nothing more than the “Content Mafia” and the digerati as “Content DJs” who don’t actually produce anything.

The online audiobook portal claudio.de is now cooperating with BBC Audio to offer English-language audiobook downloads, says Buchreport. The move is viewed as an effort to keep up with Audible.com, which already offers titles in German, English, French, and Spanish.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.