The launch of Amazon's e-book device, Kindle--which has taken the US market by storm--has been halted in Germany after talks broke down with T-Mobile and Vodafone. Amazon accused the two mobile operators of wanting excessive fees in return for supporting the device--the counter argument being that Amazon was offering too little.
Speculation that T-Mobile is looking to launch its own e-book device might not have helped negotiations.
This failure to reach an agreement in Europe's biggest book market comes after the German publishing industry said it would prevent e-books being sold at lower prices than their paper counterparts. The existing provider of e-book devices in Germany, Sony with its Reader unit, recently called for the book industry to price e-books at a 20 per cent discount to the hardcopy book price. But this again was rebuffed by many publishers insisting on the same price for a book in either form.
The convenience of the Kindle, which only works with an Amazon account, has helped it to its enormous success, whereas Sony's Reader device must be connected to a PC each time a new book or article is requested by the user. This month, Amazon released its third-generation Kindle, the DX, in the US.
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