01 April 2010

The impact of the agency model

Much has been said about Apple's agency model and the impact on ebook pricing. Look at what happened with the Macmillan/Amazon clash a few weeks ago. Macmillan wanted to change it's trading terms with it's largest customer and move towards the so called "agency model" for ebooks. The feud between supplier and customer received an amazing amount of publicity in general, trade and business media. I read much for and against each party in the altercation. Both sides had their supporters. There were Amazon loyalists (and by God they are a loyal bunch!) And there was the publishing and bookselling community who was glad to see someone taking back some of the power they shouldn't have given away to their largest customer in the first place. Granted, ebooks wouldn't be where they are today without Amazon firing up the Kindle. And I shouldn't really think of them as a customer. They play so many roles that my head spins with what Amazon controls - afterall, they are the supply chain leader, printer, publisher, ebook influencer, visionary. I could ramble on but today's blog is actually sharing the letter that Sony e-reader customers received today:

Dear Reader Store Customer,

The publishing industry is turning a page and so are we.

Beginning April 1st some major publishers will be instituting a change in the pricing of eBooks, which puts decisions on eBook pricing firmly in their hands. As a result, prices of bestsellers and new releases from these publishers will be changing on the Reader Store, and during the transition time, some titles may be unavailable. Although most of these eBooks will be priced from about $12.99 to 14.99, there will not be a broad pricing change across the Reader Store. In fact, new releases and bestsellers from other publishers will still be priced at $9.99.

Starting a new chapter can be a good thing. With this change, you may see more of your favorite books available in eBook format at the same time they’re released in print. Book lovers like you are driving a revolution in digital reading and the Reader Store is committed to providing you access to the widest selection of digital reading content. Since its inception in September 2006, Sony’s Reader Store has introduced a wide offering of new releases, bestselling eBook titles and newspapers. Today it features access to more than one million titles and links to borrow eBooks from local libraries nationwide.

Must say, loved the reference to "turning a page"!!!

Will be interesting to see if there is a backlash. I don't think there will be one although the $9.99 price point has been a brilliant introduction to ebooks. Now we're reading them, I doubt a few more dollars will make any difference whatsoever. Your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Given the kind of impost the local booksellers have been hitting us with for decades, when ebooks go more mainstream I think Aussies will still be happy to pay $10-14. That's less than half price what we pay for pbooks now, after all!