Amazon hungry for UK e-books as Kindle launch looms

Amazon hungry for UK e-books as Kindle launch looms

There is increasing evidence that Amazon is close to giving the Kindle a proper UK launch.

Just a couple of weeks after Amazon UK’s managing director made strong hints at a launch, a report from The Bookseller today indicates that Amazon is putting pressure on British publishers to increase the number of e-books available in the UK.

The British e-book market is a long way behind the USA with many books lacking any kind of e-book deal at all. Today’s report shows that Amazon is now proactively attempting to kick-start the market to ensure it can offer a large catalogue upon the Kindle’s launch.

The impending iPad launch means Apple is seeking its own e-book deals and Amazon is keen to beat them to it. One publisher told The Bookseller:

“The way they represent themselves is, ‘We are following this big author, he/she is not available in e-book form, why not, can I do anything to expedite that?’ You may say ‘E-book rights have gone to Random House’, in which case they’ll accept that. But if you say ‘No deal has been done’, they might try to be more proactive—engineer a way to encourage the marriage [with the publisher], or even look to acquire the rights themselves.”

Meanwhile, US e-book publishers are reportedly contacting UK rightsholders in an attempt to buy the electronic rights to older books. One such publisher, Rosetta Books, is offering extra publicity in return for a period of Kindle exclusivity when the e-book is released.

At present the Kindle is available outside the USA only by importing from the American Amazon site. Imported Kindles connect to Amazon’s US mobile network partner to download books. This “roaming” on foreign network leads to higher e-book prices for users, as well as a lack the web browser present for users in the US.

A UK launch, complete with a UK mobile network partner, would solve these issues, allowing Amazon to be more competitive.

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