Amazon again selling new copies of Macmillan books yanked amid fight over e-book prices
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.
Since last Friday, Amazon had limited the availability of Macmillan releases in a dispute over e-books, with Macmillan calling for a new pricing system that would end the $9.99 rate Amazon had been setting for best-sellers on its Kindle e-reader. Macmillan and other publishers believe $9.99 is too low and threatens the value of books overall.
During the dispute, Amazon had stopped offering new copies and e-book editions of many Macmillan titles, allowing purchases only through third-party sellers.
Amazon, where new copies of Macmillan books were returning Friday night, had announced last week it expected 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.”
On Thursday, Macmillan CEO John Sargent had issued a memo saying a resolution was probably near. Macmillan’s authors include Janet Evanovich, Jonathan Franzen, Barbara Ehrenreich and its imprints include Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin’s Press and Henry Holt & Co.
Under Macmillan’s model, known as the “agency model,” e-books will be priced from $12.99 to $14.99 when first released, with prices changing over time. Macmillan and other publishers are widely believed to have agreed to a similar structure for Apple’s iPad device, coming in March and expected to strongly challenge Amazon’s dominance of the growing digital market.
Hachette Book Group USA, where authors include Stephenie Meyer and Malcolm Gladwell, announced Thursday its support for the agency model, which gives publishers more control over pricing.
The new revenue sharing system will likely reduce initial profits for publishers, but publishers, authors and agents believe that setting a higher price benefits the industry in the long-term.