Amazon strikes twin electronic book deals: WSJ

Apr 01, 2010
File picture shows Amazon.com's Kindle and large version Kindle DX electronic readers. Amazon.com is letting two more major publishers raise prices of electronic books for Kindle readers in deals struck just days before Apple releases rival iPad computer tablets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Amazon.com is letting two more major publishers raise prices of electronic books for Kindle readers in deals struck just days before Apple releases rival iPad computer tablets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The agreements with Simon & Schuster and Harper-Collins break from Amazon's practice of holding the price of popular new titles down to 9.99 dollars each, according to the newspaper.

Prices for Kindle e-books can now be set at 12.99 or 14.99 in deals similar to those that Apple has with providing digital works for iPad devices that make their US debut on Saturday.

Amazon did not respond to AFP requests for comment.

US book publishers are smiling again, after years of watching digital versions of their titles sell for below what they thought they were worth.

A host of rivals to the market-dominating Kindle electronic reader has given publishers leverage to finally be able to dictate their own terms after being at the mercy of Amazon.

Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. stable includes publisher Harper-Collins, could hardly contain his glee during an earnings call in the weeks after Apple first showed the world its iPad in late January.

Apple's iPad tablet computer doubles as a full-color e-reader of books, newspapers and magazines.

"Without content, the ever larger and flatter screens, the tablets, the e-readers and the increasingly sophisticated mobile phones would be lifeless," Murdoch said. "Without content these ingenious and wonderful devices would be unloved and unsold."

Unveiling the iPad, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs announced deals with five major publishers and an agreement that allows publishers to set higher prices while Apple settles for a 30-percent cut.

The so-called "agency model" is a departure from the way Amazon has been doing business with book publishers.

Since the release of the two years ago, Amazon has sold digital versions of hardcover new releases and bestsellers for 9.99 dollars, a move primarily aimed at driving sales of the online retail giant's e-reader.

Publishers were generally opposed, believing the price too low, but were not in a position to argue while Amazon was the only game in town.

That is no longer the case.

Just days after the wraps were taken off the iPad, Macmillan informed Amazon it wanted to begin charging between 12.99 and 14.99 dollars for e-book versions of most hardcover new releases and bestsellers.

Macmillan said it would give Amazon a 30-percent cut, as with Apple.

Amazon protested, temporarily pulling Macmillan titles -- both print and e-books -- from its online bookstore, but acknowledged that "ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms."

Another major publisher, Hachette Book Group, quickly followed Macmillan.

Explore further: Visa, MasterCard moving into mobile pay in Africa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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.

Macmillan books coming back to Amazon

Feb 06, 2010

(AP) -- After a weeklong absence, new copies of Andrew Young's "The Politician," Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall" and other books published by Macmillan are available for purchase on Amazon.com.

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 ...

Recommended for you

Visa, MasterCard moving into mobile pay in Africa

17 hours ago

Americans may just be getting used to mobile pay, but consumers in many African countries have been paying with their phones for years. Now payment processors Visa and MasterCard want to get a slice of that market, and are ...

Wireless show highlights: Eyes on Apple, Blackberry

18 hours ago

As a major wireless show continues this week in Barcelona, Spain, Apple is highlighting the capabilities of its iPhone cameras with a gallery of photos taken by its users around the world.

Venture capitalist testifies in Silicon Valley sex-bias suit

Mar 03, 2015

A prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist who helped direct early investments in Google and Amazon said Tuesday during testimony in a high-profile sex discrimination lawsuit that his firm is not run by men and has many ...

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.