Yesterday American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher weighed in against the U.S. Department of Justice’s proposed consent decree with Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. In a letter to the DoJ, Teicher raised the specter that changing the current e-book distribution system away from the agency model will force a large number of independent bookstores out of e-book sales market. And e-books are essential to independent bookstores’ continued growth. “ABA and its members,” wrote Teicher, “firmly believe that bricks-and-mortar stores need an e-book strategy to continue to thrive given the considerable growth in the e-book market."
Teicher stressed the importance of the agency model in protecting bricks-and-mortar bookstores from showrooming, or “free riding.” The consent decree, he also noted, is “improper and overly broad,” because it would void agency agreements, like that of ABA’s IndieCommerce with Google eBooks and publishers, that were negotiated after April 2010, which are not part of the DoJ complaint.