ISBN register made publically accessible

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On December 22 Centraal Boekhuis, the distributor for most books in the Netherlands opened up its ISBN register, “after consultation with several stakeholders in the book business.” Let me paraphrase that for them: “people started suing us.”

Centraal Boekhuis has a curious monopoly. It distributes books for the publishers to the stores. But since shelf space is expensive, it regularly pretends the backlist doesn’t exists, says Eamelje. A Stichting Auteursdomein sued them for abusing their monopoly position. The foundation lost on the curious grounds that since it’s pioneering a business model in the Netherlands, its situation is so unique that damages are hard to determine. Stichting Auteursdomein is an on-demand publisher for books from established authors where those books have disappeared from the shelves. The goal of the lawsuit was to have Centraal Boekhuis open up their ISBN database, and that’s what happened in the end.

Via Eamelje (Dutch).

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