Amazon shares slip; Macmillan titles still missing

Feb 01, 2010

(AP) -- Amazon.com continued to withhold sales of books published by Macmillan on Monday, the result of a pricing dispute that helped knock shares in the online retailer down more than 5 percent.

Amazon.com Inc. told customers in one of its online forums Sunday that it would have to "capitulate" to Macmillan's demand that it charge more than current prices for digital editions on Amazon's Kindle e-reader.

But so far, many Macmillan books are only available from third-party sellers on Amazon's Web site, and digital editions are absent completely. Amazon's statement didn't address why the company decided to make such a public move in pulling Macmillan titles, or when the titles would return.

Macmillan's titles include "The Politician," a new insider account of the John Edwards presidential campaign by Andrew Young, and "Night," Elie Wiesel's classic account of the Holocaust.

Macmillan is one of the world's largest English-language publishers. Its divisions include St. Martin's Press, itself one of the largest publishers in the U.S.; Henry Holt & Co., one of the oldest publishers in America; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; and Tor, the leading science-fiction publisher.

Amazon and Macmillan did not respond to requests seeking comment Monday.

The company typically prices e-books at a flat rate of $9.99, even for best-sellers and new release. Under Macmillan's model, which it plans to roll out in March, it will charge from $12.99 to $14.99, and prices will change over time.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Colin Sebastian said Amazon could be forced to raise prices on a wider range of books if other publishers follow suit. Otherwise, it could end up facing delays to get new titles, "which could impact sales volume," Sebastian said in a client note Monday.

To preserve the more lucrative hardcover business, publishers including Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins Hachette Book Group USA have said they will impose delays on the release of digital copies.

Amazon wants lower prices to protect the Kindle's lead in the market. Such rivals as the Nook from Barnes & Noble Inc. and the forthcoming iPad from Apple Inc. are looking to challenge that position. But Sebastian noted that higher prices will mean bigger profit margins.

"Amazon could turn e-books from loss leaders to profit generators," he said.

In any case, the dispute with Macmillan, a privately held company, appeared to stir some concern among investors in Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle.

Amazon shares were down $6.54, or 5.2 percent, to $118.87 in afternoon trading Monday. The drop in share price came even though Amazon reported a 71 percent rise in fourth-quarter earnings last week, propelled by online holiday shoppers.

Explore further: Samsung removes logo on smartphones in Japan

0 shares

Related Stories

Books pulled from Amazon.com in pricing dispute

Jan 30, 2010

(AP) -- New copies of Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall," Andrew Young's "The Politician" and other books published by Macmillan were unavailable Saturday on Amazon.com, a drastic step in the ongoing dispute over ...

Amazon offers new royalty program for Kindle books

Jan 20, 2010

(AP) -- Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday it will begin offering do-it-yourself authors and publishers a bigger cut of book sales on its Kindle e-reader - but with strings attached aimed at keeping prices down for consumers.

New Barnes & Noble multi-format e-books dog Amazon

Jul 20, 2009

(AP) -- Barnes & Noble Inc. on Monday stepped up its fight in the small but highly competitive market for electronic books with the launch of a new e-bookstore offering titles to be read on a variety of devices.

Google to sell new e-books online

Jun 01, 2009

Google plans to begin selling electronic versions of new books online this year, posing a potential challenge to market leader Amazon.

Recommended for you

Taiwan factory workers win $18 mn over cancer deaths

Apr 17, 2015

Workers from a factory in Taiwan which leeched toxic chemicals they say resulted in 200 deaths from cancer and more than 1,000 other cases of the disease won a Tw$564.45 million ($18 million) payout from US electronics company ...

Court monitor: Apple antitrust cooperation has 'declined'

Apr 17, 2015

Apple Inc.'s cooperation with efforts to improve its compliance with antitrust laws after a federal judge concluded it colluded with electronic book publishers to raise prices five years ago took on an "adversarial tone" ...

SEC questions LA Unified on use of bonds for iPad project

Apr 17, 2015

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently questioned Los Angeles Unified School District officials as part of informal inquiry into whether they properly used bond funds for a beleaguered $1.3 billion project to provide ...

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.