Monday, February 01, 2010

E-book price war Amazon Vs. Macmillan Books

The New York Times notes that books from Macmillan, one of the largest U.S. publishers, have been removed from The post says that Amazon made the move in a disagreement over pricing. The publisher has asked Amazon to lift e-book prices to around $15 from $9.99. “Amazon is expressing its strong disagreement by temporarily removing Macmillan books,” the Times reports.

As the piece notes, Macmillan is one of the publishers signed on to sell books through the new Apple iBooks store. Macmillan sells books under the Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martins Press and Henry Holt brands. The Times notes that the books can still be purchased from third parties on the Amazon site.

The Times reports that Macmillan proposed selling books for the Kindle under the same terms it will offer to Apple for the iPad. Under that model, the publisher sets the price, and revenue is split 70/30, with the larger share going to the publisher. Macmillan told Amazon it could keep buying e-books under the existing model - paying 50% of hardcover list price while pricing wherever it chooses - but that Macmillan would delay those editions by seven months after the hardcover release.

Neither company is commenting on the record.

It’s a fascinating battle, which at the heart revolves around this question: who gets to set prices for electronics books: the publishers or the sellers?