Friday, September 7, 2012

e-book pricing settlement

It's hard to know what will become of the 'price fixing' settlement in the US and the break up of the agency model set up by major publishers with Apple.

The Guardian reported the outcome and included this quote from UK Society of Authors Deputy Secretary General, Kate Pool:
"Publishers large and small, authors and booksellers have all protested that the agency model is almost the only thing which stands in the way of Amazon using its dominant position to discount ebooks to prices other retailers cannot match, enhancing Amazon's market share but devaluing the product to the extent that in the long-term everyone (including Amazon) loses out.

"To survive, publishing must be profitable. Publishers have long been at the mercy of the discounts demanded by the major retailers; if the agency model is outlawed, this further weakens their position. Many authors feel that as the industry changes, some of the terms traditionally asked of them are no longer reasonable – but most also believe that, provided the terms are right, publishers remain a vital part of the equation."

Certainly it seems a real possibility that Amazon could drive prices so low that publishers are unable to turn even a modest profit from ebooks.

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