Macmillan publishing demands higher prices from Amazon, and gets it – iPad to blame

Mon, Feb 1, 2010


It’s been a wild weekend for Amazon and Macmillan, one of the largest publishing houses in the world. Over the weekend, all of Macmillan’s content suddenly disappeared from Amazon’s online store as a result of Amazon’s unwillingness to cave into Macmillan’s demands, which included the right to sell e-books for anywhere up to $15. Under the old guard, even best sellers on Amazon went for just $9.99.

Clearly, Macmillan’s new demands were in response to Apple’s newly announced iBook book store. As an aside, isn’t competition supposed to lower prices?

In any event, Amazon eventually caved to Macmillan’s demands, but they naturally weren’t too happy about it.

Dear Customers:

Macmillan, one of the “big six” publishers, has clearly communicated to us that, regardless of our viewpoint, they are committed to switching to an agency model and charging $12.99 to $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases.

We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books. Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book. We don’t believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative.

I always new Macmillan had a monopoly over their own titles, those bastards!

It raises an interesting question, though. Should an e-book be inherently and significantly cheaper than its hardcover bretheren? How much extra is it worth to get a physical copy of a title as opposed to one in digital form?

Hit us up in the comments and speak your mind.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Jon1 Says:

    AN e-book is worth more because it doesn’t take up any space, can be accessed anywhere, anytime, you can read it in the dark, have it spoken to you via computer, doesn’t require deforestation, doesn’t have to be transported via truck. It can be vaporized when you are done so it doesn’t add to waste product.
    It is easier to read because you can change font and font size. You can acquire it almost instantly.

  2. Gary Says:

    It does cost more to produce a printed book so I feel e-books should be priced lower then printed books. The intellectual property should hold the same value in either format so the difference in price should be related to the cost savings for not needing to print, ship, and distribute the book.

    The book publishers should be able to charge what ever they choose and let the market decide if they will pay their price. Discounting will occur if the books are not selling at a higher price.

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