HarperCollins reaches deal to lower e-book prices

Sep 12, 2012 by Hillel Italie

(AP)—A new and uncertain era of e-book prices has begun.

HarperCollins announced Tuesday that it has reached new price agreements with sellers that conform to a settlement with the Justice Department over that five publishers and colluded to set for . Such new works as Michael Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue" now can be purchased on Amazon.com for $9.99, a price publishers and rival booksellers fear will give Amazon dominant control of the e-market.

Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group also settled, but as of Tuesday afternoon e-prices for such fall books from those publishers as Bob Woodward's "The Price of Politics" and Tom Wolfe's "Back to Blood" were selling for $14.99. A spokesman for Simon & Schuster declined comment, while Hachette issued a statement saying it was "engaged in productive discussions with e-book distribution agents."

Apple and two other publishers, Penguin Group (USA) and Macmillan, declined to settle and a trial is expected next June.

The settlement was announced in April, when the filed suit, and was approved last week by a federal judge in New York. The legal action stems from agreements reached between major publishers and Apple in 2010 that allowed publishers to set their own prices for e-books, an effort to counter Amazon's deep discounts of best sellers. Over the past two years, Amazon's e-share is widely believed to have dropped from around 90 percent to around 60 percent, with Barnes & Noble.com's rising to 25 percent.

E-books are believed to comprise around 25-30 percent of total sales, exponentially higher than four to five years ago. But growth has slowed over the past year, and reasons cited vary from the higher prices charged under the Apple agreements to a general maturation of the e-market, with the most avid e-book readers already accounted for.

With no definitive resolution expected soon, publishers and booksellers face a complicated time of possible price wars or periods when books may become unavailable during the busy fall season, depending how quickly new agreements are signed. Barnes & Noble.com and other online retailers may feel pressure to cut their prices as deeply as Amazon.com. And Random House Inc., which agreed to a similar sales model as HarperCollins and others but is not involved in the legal action, may find itself charging several dollars more for popular e-books than its competitors charge

Prices for new HarperCollins books differed from seller to seller as of Tuesday afternoon. Chabon's "Telegraph Avenue" cost $12.59 on Barnes & Noble's Nook and $9.99 on Apple's iBookstore. Molly Ringwald's "When It Happens to You" was $9.74 on Amazon, $12.99 on Barnes & Noble and $9.99 on Apple.

Explore further: New approach to online compatibility

0 shares

Related Stories

Apple denies e-book pricing conspiracy

Apr 13, 2012

Apple denied a charge that it schemed with publishers to hike prices for e-books, portraying itself as a hero for prying Amazon's "monopolistic grip" from the market.

US class-action ebook price-fixing suit can proceed

May 15, 2012

A judge Tuesday allowed a class-action case to proceed against Apple and six publishing houses alleging a price-fixing scheme for electronic books, citing "ample" indications of a conspiracy.

US defends suit on Apple, e-books amid criticism

Jul 23, 2012

US antitrust authorities Monday defended their lawsuit accusing Apple and major publishers of a price-fixing conspiracy on e-books, saying the action is "in the public interest."

Recommended for you

New approach to online compatibility

2 hours ago

Many of the online social networks match users with each other based on common keywords and assumed shared interests based on their activity. A new approach that could help users find new friends and contacts with a greater ...

Most internet anonymity software leaks users' details

16 hours ago

Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are legal and increasingly popular for individuals wanting to circumvent censorship, avoid mass surveillance or access geographically limited services like Netflix and BBC ...

WikiLeaks says NSA spied on French business

18 hours ago

WikiLeaks has released documents that it says show that the U.S. National Security Agency eavesdropped on France's top finance officials and high-stakes French export bids over a decade in what the group called targeted economic ...

Google gets extended deadline to answer EU case

19 hours ago

Brussels has given Google an extension until mid-August to answer an anti-trust case alleging that the tech giant abuses its search engine's market dominance, a company spokesman said Monday.

Facebook opens first Africa office

22 hours ago

Facebook announced Monday it had opened its first African office in Johannesburg as part of its efforts "to help people and businesses connect" on the continent.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.