The Wall Street Journal is reporting that powerhouse publisher HarperCollins is currently in negotiations with Apple to make e-books available as downloadable content for Apple’s upcoming tablet device. The price of the e-books will reportedly be set by HarperCollins and will include “added features”, which while a vague term, conjures up images of iTunes LP for books.
Brian Murray, the chief executive of HarperCollins, said in December that e-books enhanced with video, author interviews and social-networking applications could command higher retail prices for publishers than current e-books. Many of the country’s largest publishing houses are worried about the sale of new bestsellers for only $9.99 in the e-book format. New releases of enhanced e-books could sell for $14.99 to $19.99, a person familiar with the situation said.
Amazon currently has a tight stranglehold on the e-book market, and while some publishers might be wary of ceding control to Apple given their influence in the music industry, they really might not have much of a choice. Amazon currently takes the bulk of all sales proceeds from e-books, and it often demands that certain content be available exclusively on Amazon. In contrast, previous reports have suggested that Apple is seeking to implement the same 70/30 revenue split with authors that it currently employs on the iTunes App Store, and that content providers will not be bound by any exclusivity agreements with Apple.