Apple and Amazon End Audiobook Exclusivity Deal Amid Growing Concerns of a Monopoly

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple and Amazon have agreed to cease all exclusivity obligations previously put in place between the two companies regarding the supply and distribution of audiobooks through iTunes and Audible (via Reuters). The partnership between the two companies previously incited a complaint from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association in 2015 centering around the potential for a monopoly in the European audiobook industry by the two powerhouse companies.

    Now, competition is expected to be boosted and the European Commission and the German Federal Cartel Office are welcoming the decision made by Apple and Amazon to end their exclusive distribution deal of Audible audiobooks on iTunes, meaning other companies can now distribute audiobooks on Apple's popular digital marketplace. Simultaneously, Audible can now place its audiobooks on other digital marketplaces for users to download.


    On Thursday, the German Federal Cartel Office said it has officially closed its investigation because "there was no further reason to continue."
    Back in 2015, the German Publishers and Booksellers Association began its complaint by saying that Apple and Amazon were "abusing their dominant market position" with the audiobook deal. In total, more than 90 percent of all audiobook downloads in Germany are made through Amazon's Audible service, or via iTunes, making the pairing of the two companies particularly troublesome in the eyes of the association.

    According to the German Cartel Office's president, Andreas Mundt, the end of the exclusivity deal "will enable a wider range of offer and lower prices for consumers." The deal's termination touches all markets that Apple and Amazon previously had exclusive audiobook coverage over, not just those in Europe.

    The audiobook case differs from Apple's long-running e-book price-fixing lawsuit, which finally reached an end last year and saw the company forced to pay a $450 million settlement. The case began in 2014 when Apple was found guilty of conspiring with publishers to inflate the prices of e-books, with the $450 million settlement reached in March of 2016. Specifically, the amount was broken down with $400 million paid out to e-book customers, $20 million to the states, and $30 million in the form of legal fees.

    Article Link: Apple and Amazon End Audiobook Exclusivity Deal Amid Growing Concerns of a Monopoly
  2. macTW Suspended

    Oct 17, 2016
    This could be big for the digital book industry... if people still read often.
  3. japanime macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2006
    Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with ebooks. It only concerns audiobooks.
  4. l00pback macrumors regular


    May 28, 2010
    What are the implications? Will this allow us to buy Audible content in the Audible app? Or Audible content in the iTunes store?
  5. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    More or less the opposite. It means other publishers can distribute more easily and widely outside of Audible.
  6. JamesBrock macrumors newbie

    Sep 14, 2011
    My understanding is that it only stops the exclusivity agreements with publishers. I would imagine the apps will stay the same
  7. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    If you want to regularly buy audiobooks it will usually make much more sense to subscribe to Audible itself anyway - the prices for many titles bought individually are often crazy (e.g. around 3 times what a monthly subscription costs) by comparison. But this is still a good thing for people only interested in buying one or two lower-priced audiobooks very occasionally.

    And of course if it means greater access to non-DRM audiobooks on sale from other audiobook sellers that would be a nice thing too...
  8. nick42983 macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2009
    All I want is to be able to have Audible playback controls through Siri on my AirPods. Can't do that now.
  9. canadianreader macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2014
    I love listening to audiobooks such an amazing experience. I wish prices will go down a bit I have many titles that I wanna listen to.
  10. ironpony macrumors regular


    Oct 28, 2011
    I'm trying to figure out how $15 per month for one audiobook (audible)is different than $10 for unlimited Netflix movies, or for that matter the $99 per year amazon movies(Prime account).

    Goodbye Audible??,
  11. Christoffee macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2012
    All I want is audiobooks without DRM. Right now I cannot be bothered to rip audiobooks, so I keep my money.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 19, 2017 ---
    I think the problem is supply and demand. It clearly costs much more to produce a film compared to an audiobook, but there are far fewer of us that enjoy a decent audiobook.
  12. cmwade77 macrumors 65816

    Nov 18, 2008
    Are you confused by the difference between $15 for ONE, I repeat ONE Audiobook that lasts an average of 5 hours vs. $10 for UNLIMITED streaming on Netflix?

    There is definitely a major difference in the price per hour, that being said, one way that you can usually get a lot lower costs on Audiobooks is to get the Kindle version or have Kindle Unlimited, then add the narration at a majorly discounted rate, works very well.
  13. rictus007 macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2011
    Whatever....I just want to know were is my Amazon app for Apple TV?
  14. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    It's not a fair analogy because a) as @Christoffee said, far fewer people typically listen to an audiobook than watch a movie and b) many movies will already have made their money back+a good profit before they even get near Netflix, and from then on it's all just pure profit. There isn't an equivalent of a movie theatre for audiobooks, is there?

    In the same place as the iTunes app for FireTV? :D
  15. huperniketes macrumors regular


    Jun 26, 2007
    (0, 0, 0)
    I'm just trying to find the Audible books I already paid for. It seems they keep disappearing from my library!
  16. Tee1970 macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Will be happy to options other than using Audible. Downloaded an audiobook from them that put a ton of tracking software on my laptop, wasn't worth keeping it to leave that installed. I have various audiobooks I've ripped from cds, but it hasn't gotten included in iTunes Match and limited improvements in the iBooks player for audiobooks. Maybe now Apple can put some direction into a a better solution.
  17. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    I share your mistrust of superfluous software that likes to phone home for no good reason, but iTunes is all you need to play audible files on the mac, you didn't need to download anything else. Download your audiobook from your account in a web browser and drag it into iTunes.
  18. Daws001 macrumors 6502


    Jul 27, 2011
    The States
    I tried to get into audiobooks, did the Audible free book trial and all, but something about having someone else read to me that is quite unsatisfying. Also when the reader does different voices for the characters and they're irritating, or the voice they do is different from the one I imagined.

    No thank you. Books please :p
  19. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    I kinda doubt Amazon is going to put their Audible content on Google Play, etc at this point. They're trying to lock you into the service with the podcast "channels" and that's just going to grow into something bigger in the long run. They've also been producing some audiobooks themselves.

    As to why people even pay $15 for the one audiobook... Yeah, some of them are only five hours long, but there's others that go beyond 10 or even 16 hours. You don't necessarily read them in one go, you spread it out in chapters/minutes. And if you are looking for an extra read, it's still cheaper than getting it on discs or non-member prices.

    Kindle Unlimited gives you access to the audiobook version of any of the books in the program by the way. Same with Prime Reading.
  20. Rique macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2011
    Northern Virginia
    It's ~ $24 per month for the top tier plan, which gets you 2 credits - or 2 books - per month. I find $12 per book to be reasonable, when compared to per-title pricing on iTunes, Amazon or for audiobook CDs. It's worthwhile if you spend a lot of time commuting.

    Amazon / Audible also frequently offer fairly deep discounts on the Audible title if you buy the Kindle version first. Its good to check that first, I often find where taking advantage of that gets me both the eBook and Audible title for $10 - and sometimes as little as $3 or $4. Audible also has sales often, which has the unwanted effect of draining my discretionary funds rapidly.

    I like it. It's a decent value for readers who don't have enough time to read, due to work, family and commuting commitments. It's not for everyone, though.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 21, 2017 ---
    Check your filter settings. The default view of your Library in Audible only shows the last 6 months of purchases, but you can change the setting. It will reset to the default the next time you check your Library, though.

    You can also check Amazon for all of your digital purchases. Audible is an Amazon-owned company.

    --- Post Merged, Jan 21, 2017 ---
    If you download an audiobook from your Audible library or from Amazon, there's nothing else which downloads other than the book. I don't know what the use case would be with iTunes, because I always grab my downloads from the Audible app on my iPod Touch or on my iPhone or from the web (via the Audible library) - but I've *never* received anything other than the book.
  21. lowendlinux Contributor


    Sep 24, 2014
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    I listen to them in the car I don't think I'd listen at home.


    If you like classics check out this site:
  22. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I would get more if the price were lower. I had back when a friend with similar tastes in one venue of books that let us do a swap deal on CD based audio books. This made it almost acceptable as far as price.
  23. canadianreader macrumors 6502a


    Sep 24, 2014
    Some audiobooks are available on Youtube you can download them as mp3 files
  24. bobnoss macrumors newbie

    Jan 23, 2017
    Try Downpour - No DRM audiobooks. $13 per book, for most books. I won't buy books with DRM, so they're kinda the holy grail for me:
  25. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    I might sound a tad daft here but I don't mind paying for the audio books (if) they were reasonably priced. However, I thank you for the suggestion that others too might find useful.
    --- Post Merged, Jan 23, 2017 ---
    Thanks much. I'll give it a try.

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25 January 19, 2017