These guys do a Global eBook Report at intervals and have been for a few years. It's gotten a lot longer lately. From page 33 (of the pagination, NOT pdf pages), Germany as of spring 2014 (I love it when German people try to do English capitalization. They tend to overshoot. It is Hilarious.) has had terrible book market growth through 2013 with declines in some categories and a big bankruptcy in a vertical (Weltbild, a book retailer AND publisher). Ebooks did well throughout the German speaking and reading community. Deutsche Telekom closed its "ebook and digital media shop". The largest chain bookstore in Germany, Thalia, delisted from the stock exchange while it tinkered with its business model.
Amazon did well during a horrifying year. "the Seattle based giant owns roughly one quarter of the online retail business in Germany". It is unclear whether that is all-products, or just books, or books and media or what. "Amazon is estimated to control around 43 to 45 percent of all ebook sales in Germany, followed by the Tolino alliance with around 37 percent ... and Apple ... with 15 percent."
So the publishers are targeting Amazon out of desperation, and hoping that some way can be found to slow them down. Their best bet, after reading a lot of Euro Lex and Bundeskartellamt pages about competition policy, is to (a) argue that Amazon enjoys market dominance as a buyer AND a seller in German markets and (b) they are abusing that market dominance. (A) should be a no brainer. (B) is going to be trickier. A whole lot of regulatory authorities, in Germany and at the Euro level, are going to be wanting to look at a lot of internal information at the publishers AND at Amazon. One of the resolution options at the Euro level involves voluntary commitments on the part of the, er, perpetrators which have sanctions (fines and so forth) built into following through on. I _think_ this is akin to a settlement over here.
This is _so much fun_. Who knew exploring competition law in other countries could be so entertaining! Okay, maybe not for anyone but me.