In a busy week for Amazon, the retailer announced a partnership to lend Kindle-format books through libraries and the launch of a site to sell German-language titles.
In the United States, the library initiative created a stir. In a strongly argued post, Mike Cane claimed that the IDPF’s EPUB standard, which Amazon uses only as an input in creating a proprietary format, is now dead in the water.
With a presence in the U.K. and (recently) France, Amazon is no stranger to Europe, but the German launch raises questions about the future of e-book pricing there.
There seems little doubt that Amazon has been preparing for this moment. Last October they bought BuyVIP.com, which is a fashion and lifestyle buying community with more than six million members in countries that include Spain, Germany and Italy.
Goldman Sachs Investment Advisory Group reports that in 2011, Amazon is increasing its warehouse space by 40% (7 million square feet). By the end of the year, the company plans to have 53 distribution centers and 24.5 million square feet of warehouse space.
They are already global: Goldman Sachs notes that 22 DCs are in the US, 25 outside of it. The six facilities they open this year include two in Japan and one in Scotland. They are also opening two in Tennessee.
With the growth of digital books, the existing rules about selling globally are already changed. The game publishers are playing now looks much more like the one described in January by Matt Shatz: working to avoid being squeezed out by the retailers they also call customers.