Apple iPad deal pushes another publisher to renegotiate with Amazon

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Days after Macmillan essentially forced Amazon to accept higher prices for its Kindle e-book titles, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., said his publishing company HarperCollins is also in talks to increase titles beyond $9.99.



During his company's earnings call this week, Murdoch revealed that he doesn't like the $9.99 pricing currently employed by Amazon because it devalues books and hurts retailers who sell the hardcover editions. But he noted Apple's content deals for its new iPad allow publishers more flexibility to set prices at a level they believe is fair.



"Apple -- in its agreement with us, which has not been disclosed in detail -- does allow for a variety of slightly higher prices," Murdoch said. "There will be prices very much less than the printed copies of books, but still will not be fixed in a way that Amazon has been doing it."



Now, Murdoch said, Amazon is "ready to sit down" with HarperCollins to renegotiate pricing of books on the Kindle.



The revelation comes after a short-lived standoff over e-book prices between Amazon and Macmillan, during which Amazon temporarily suspended sales of all books from the publisher. A day later, though, Amazon reluctantly conceded and allowed the publisher to raise its prices to between $12.99 and $14.99.



The events were foreshadowed last week by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who told Walt Mossberg of The Wall Street Journal that publishers were going to begin withholding their titles from the Kindle because they were not happy with the pricing structure. Jobs also said the iPad and Kindle would offer "the same" prices on e-books.



Prior to last week's announcement, it was rumored that publishers were in talks with Apple to offer new hardcover bestsellers at prices of $12.99 and $14.99. The terms of the e-book deals Apple has struck with publishers remain unknown.



When Apple introduced the iPad last week, it also unveiled the new iBooks application for reading e-books. The software also includes the iBookstore, which allows users to purchase content that will be displayed on their virtual bookshelf. Apple announced deals with five major book partners, including Macmillan and HarperCollins.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 86
    Every single publisher will increase their prices too... Amazon bent for one, the rest want that money too... and who can blame them?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Days after Macmillan essentially forced Amazon to accept higher prices for its Kindle e-book titles, Rupert Murdoch, chairman of News Corp., said his publishing company HarperCollins is also in talks to increase titles beyond $9.99.



    During his company's earnings call this week, Murdoch revealed that he doesn't like the $9.99 pricing currently employed by Amazon because it devalues books and hurts retailers who sell the hardcover editions. But he noted Apple's content deals for its new iPad allow publishers more flexibility to set prices at a level they believe is fair.



    "Apple -- in its agreement with us, which has not been disclosed in detail -- does allow for a variety of slightly higher prices," Murdoch said. "There will be prices very much less than the printed copies of books, but still will not be fixed in a way that Amazon has been doing it."



    Now, Murdoch said, Amazon is "ready to sit down" with HarperCollins to renegotiate pricing of books on the Kindle.



    The revelation comes after a short-lived standoff over e-book prices between Amazon and Macmillan, during which Amazon temporarily suspended sales of all books from the publisher. A day later, though, Amazon reluctantly conceded and allowed the publisher to raise its prices to between $12.99 and $14.99.



    The events were foreshadowed last week by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who told Walt Mossberg of The New York Times that publishers were going to begin withholding their titles from the Kindle because they were not happy with the pricing structure. Jobs also said the iPad and Kindle would offer "the same" prices on e-books.



    Prior to last week, it was rumored that publishers were in talks with Apple to offer new hardcover bestsellers at prices of $12.99 and $14.99. The terms of the e-book deals Apple has struck with publishers remain unknown.



    When Apple introduced the iPad last week, it also unveiled the new iBooks application for reading e-books. The software also includes the iBookstore, which allows users to purchase content that will be displayed on their virtual bookshelf. Apple announced deals with five major book partners, including Macmillan and HarperCollins.



  • Reply 2 of 86
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... raise its prices to between $12.99 and $14.99. ....



    There is no way in hell an eBook novel, (best-seller or not), is worth $12.99 or $14.99.



    You not only aren't getting the book, you aren't even getting a close facsimile of the book. You are getting a text file and a jpeg of the cover.



    Also, as a writer, it's a bad bad day when eBooks become the norm and any bozo can re-stream your text and change the font into comic sans before sending it on for free to all their friends. Books are works of art. The aren't just text.



    Hell, there is a thousand times more art in a digital comic than there is in one of these "books." By this measure, the latest digital comic should cost $40.00.
  • Reply 3 of 86
    irelandireland Posts: 17,299member
    This is a load of shit. Not bullshit, but a pain in the ass.



    Best sellers should be $9.99. Everything else should be $6.99 for novels, and $4.99 for novellas. Oh, and Rupert Murdoch is a bastard. Not just for this, but generally speaking.
  • Reply 4 of 86
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,523member
    Bah! We all lose!



    Amazon should have pulled a Frank Drebin like in Naked Gun 33 and a 1/3;



  • Reply 5 of 86
    ivan.rnn01ivan.rnn01 Posts: 1,822member
    How come forum trolls knew all that before and philanthropes at Amazon didn't



    P.S. Kind advice, Amazon. Readers' rating is two stars or lower - the fine on the publisher.
  • Reply 6 of 86
    davegeedavegee Posts: 2,765member
    Nice to see Steve pulling for the customers.... OH wait...
  • Reply 7 of 86
    One aspect of production cost comparisons between conventional and e-books which I don't recall being mentioned much so far in these article discussions is the difference between the continuing costs of printing, distributing, warehousing, recycling unsold copies, etc., of conventional books, and the relatively minimal or even non-existent comparable costs of e-books.



    It would seem that such savings would allow publishers to at least maintain and perhaps enhance design and content quality to include dynamic/interactive/multimedia content in e-books, all while selling e-books at dramatically lower prices than conventional books.



    It will be interesting to see the shift in economics of book production. Will publishers pay adequately for enhanced dynamic content? Will independent/self-publishers have significant publishing opportunities from access to the Apple Bookstore?
  • Reply 8 of 86
    On the one hand, I don't like paying more than I have to for the written word, on the other hand, I very much want great publishers and newspapers to thrive. For example: I've been reading the NY Times online for free now for a few years. (I paid them their online subscription fee for the brief period where they required that.) So I very much enjoy their product, and I also very much enjoy getting it for free. But I have to be honest with myself and admit that I'm getting too good a deal. It's too good to last.



    So yes, I'm a penny-pinching cheapskate who doesn't want to pay anything for this great material, but more importantly, I'm a realist and I want the publishers to thrive. So it's totally okay by me that Apple helps these publishers charge the prices they want to charge. If I don't want to pay it, there's tons of free stuff on the Web. They can charge what they think is fair. Consumers don't need to complain about it -- they can pay the price or go elsewhere.
  • Reply 9 of 86
    ozexigeozexige Posts: 215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


    Nice to see Steve pulling for the customers.... OH wait...



    To quote our venerable (NOT!) Aussie, Mr Murdoch



    “The buck stops with the guy who signs the checks.”



    and it appears that our Steve is the signatory



    \
  • Reply 10 of 86
    ltmpltmp Posts: 204member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post




    It would seem that such savings would allow publishers to at least maintain and perhaps enhance design and content quality to include dynamic/interactive/multimedia content in e-books, all while selling e-books at dramatically lower prices than conventional books.



    Don't forget that the publishers costs for printed books will go up as the market shifts to eBooks (due to lower volumes and more uncertainty).



    I believe that a free market system is best in the long run.



    If they are charging too much. no one will buy, which is what they are aiming for right now. They still want to drive people to printed books. The margins might be lower, but the profit is much higher.
  • Reply 11 of 86
    I still want to know whether we'll be able to read those books bought in the iBookstore on our computer and iPhone. If I'm buying a book, I should have the ability to view it wherever I want. That is the biggest question for me at this point.
  • Reply 12 of 86
    Revised Edit
  • Reply 13 of 86
    Well, the simplest solution is: spend your money elsewhere.



    A great deal of trade paperbacks now sell for $12.99 on up, approaching hardcover prices and even in many instances, their form factor. Yet it's difficult to find the mass revolt against that, much less brick-and-mortar bookstores going out of business based solely on "overpriced" hardcover bestsellers.



    I don't know anything about how a publisher provides an e-book, although I am fairly confident that it's more involved than a "Save as...." option. By the same token, paying the same price for a physical copy doesn't fit right either, but one can expect the price of physical units to rise with or without e-books. Yet if consumers of e-books (who are not the majority here) really don't like "near-to-same price" scenario, spend your money elsewhere.
  • Reply 14 of 86
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    You not only aren't getting the book, you aren't even getting a close facsimile of the book. You are getting a text file and a jpeg of the cover.



    When you buy a book - do you really pay for the paper? Gosh! I don't!



    It's the content, dear Watson! It's the content.



    I would not pay a dime for kama sutra (unless original something) no matter how it was delivered, but quite a few bucks for board meeting protocols in Apple, IBM and Amazon.
  • Reply 15 of 86
    ozexigeozexige Posts: 215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by delreyjones View Post


    On the one hand, I don't like paying more than I have to for the written word, on the other hand, I very much want great publishers and newspapers to thrive. For example: I've been reading the NY Times online for free now for a few years. (I paid them their online subscription fee for the brief period where they required that.) So I very much enjoy their product, and I also very much enjoy getting it for free. But I have to be honest with myself and admit that I'm getting too good a deal. It's too good to last.



    So yes, I'm a penny-pinching cheapskate who doesn't want to pay anything for this great material, but more importantly, I'm a realist and I want the publishers to thrive. So it's totally okay by me that Apple helps these publishers charge the prices they want to charge. If I don't want to pay it, there's tons of free stuff on the Web. They can charge what they think is fair. Consumers don't need to complain about it -- they can pay the price or go elsewhere.



    There is no denying your logic, I'm a capitalist by nature and it is therefore appropriate that I support the 'Industry'

    (not necessarily Rupert). We will have to wait and see who reaps the benefits of the new 'Apple pricing plan'
  • Reply 16 of 86
    jukesjukes Posts: 213member
    Competition causes prices to go up? Someone call the FTC.
  • Reply 17 of 86
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jukes View Post


    Competition causes prices to go up? Someone call the FTC.



    is that when they break into ..



    So the FTC won't let me be

    Or let me be me so let me see

    They tried to shut me down on MTV

    But it feels so empty without me



    (edited with artistic merit)
  • Reply 18 of 86
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post


    Nice to see Steve pulling for the customers.... OH wait...



    Why do you think Steve Jobs went out to the publishers and said - you can sell books on the iPad only if you raise prices?



    More likely, Steve asked the publishers to include their books on his new iBook Store and they said only if you agree to pricing like this.



    Apple needs the publishers (content) to make the iPad a success. They don't need Apple - if all Apple offered was Amazon-like pricing, then the publishers would just stick with Amazon.



    What most people miss is that Amazon's near monopoly on e-book sales is ending. They have been abusing that monopoly to set the sale terms in their favour. The publishers, given the option of a second larger seller now have more power.
  • Reply 19 of 86
    My problem is the 'waste' involved in producing a hardcover book as opposed to the eBook! A lot of us buy a book read it, share it perhaps and put it on a shelf. But think of the toxic ink and glue and all the water wasted to 'bleach' the paper to be white....compared to eBooks. Not to mention the trees!



    As soon as the iPad 3g comes out I will convert my AZ Republic daily newspaper my daily WSJ subscription (both paid, btw) all my magazines subscriptions and from then my book purchases will be eBooks via iBook. I don't want my reading material, produced and shipped and recycled using MidEast Oil! or the landfill being filled up with all the magazines that are never sold at the grocery stores.



    The publishers getting $15 for an ebook, is akin to paying $18 for a CD 10 years ago. It just seems too much. But I will do it over buying the hard cover version. I remember in college buying expensive text books and really feeling like being taken advantage of bc of the exorbitant pricing. Hopefully that will change too.
  • Reply 20 of 86
    I am not a fan of fixed pricing. Flexible pricing is a much better idea.



    However, I did defend fixed pricing in iTunes. The reason is as follows:



    1) Music companies were too slow to react to the internet. By the time iTunes came around, people were more accustomed to downloading music on Napster, than buying it online. iTunes had to change this behavior, and convenience was a major selling point. The fixed pricing helped towards this.



    2) People were not used to paying for digital products (before itunes, what other major digital product was sold online? Even software was sold on CDs). iTunes has changed that behavior.



    In other words, as far as iTunes and music pricing was concerned, the market was extremely immature, and simplicity and lack of surprises were the order of the day. The combination of book sales on Kindle and the many millions of people who now see value in digital products thanks to iTunes (and other stuff, like iPhone games which have you buy digital gifts, etc) the ebook market is far more mature.
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