The e-book space should get really interesting over the next year or so. Amazon is dumping Macmillan’s hard copy and e-books over an e-book pricing issue. Right now all e-books are $9.99 at Amazon and Macmillan wants to charge more for e-books at the outset before lowering prices.
This move is pretty significant because here’s part of Macmillan’s roster: “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.” That’s a lot of quality books that Amazon is willing to lose over a couple of bucks.
Is Amazon running scared from looming competition a bit? I’d say yes.
From the link:
Macmillan CEO John Sargent said he was told Friday that its books would be removed from Amazon.com, as would e-books for Amazon’s Kindle e-reader. Books will be available on Amazon.com through private sellers and other third parties, Sargent said.
Sargent met with Amazon officials Thursday to discuss the publisher’s new pricing model for e-books. He wrote in a letter to Macmillan authors and literary agents Saturday that the plan would allow Amazon to make more money selling Macmillan books and that Macmillan would make less. He characterized the dispute as a disagreement over “the long-term viability and stability of the digital book market.”
But, he wrote, the digital book industry needs to create a business model that provides equal opportunities for retailers. Under Macmillan’s model, to be put in place in March, e-books will be priced from $12.99 to $14.99 when first released and prices will change over time.
For its part, Amazon wants to keep a lid on prices as competitors line up to challenge its dominant position in a rapidly expanding market. The company did not immediately return messages seeking comment Saturday.
Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Sony Corp.’s e-book readers are already on sale. But the latest and most talked about challenger is Apple Inc., which just introduced the long-awaited iPad tablet computer and a new online book store modeled on iTunes. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, suggested publishers may offer some e-titles to Apple before they are allowed to go on sale at Amazon.com