The Orange View (on hiatus) Because Apple is great but it isn't perfect

1Mar/11Off

Random House caves, will hike ebook prices

Saving the "best" for last this morning, it appears Random House is caving in to publishing industry pressure and adopting so-called agency pricing for ebooks. That means all six major publishers in cahoots with Apple will have engineered a big price hike in ebooks in under a year. Sayonara to $9.99 best sellers? Pretty much.

The fact that Random House caved just after Apple revealed its plan to squeeze out competing ebook vendors from iOS seems pretty telling. By holding out from agency pricing, and thus not be included Apple's iBookstore, Random House could still be sure its ebooks would reach most iPad and iPhone customers via Kindle and Barnes & Noble. Not anymore.

One bit of Jeffrey Trachtenberg's WSJ piece annoys, however:

Some consumers have blamed the approach for higher e-book prices.

-WSJ, March 1, 2011

It's a clear fact that publishers raised ebook prices through agency pricing. That's the whole point -- to eliminate retailer discounting. It's not an assertion by some consumers. But then I'm still waiting for the Journal to correct John Makinson's flaming lie from last February that Apple's iBookstore would bring Harry Potter to the world of ebooks. Oops.

Posted by Aaron Pressman

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