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February 2010
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HarperCollins Might Also Push Amazon To Increase Kindle eBook Prices

harper_logo_small-1Looks like the publishers are not through making Kindle eBooks over all a much pricier place. After Hachette followed in MacMillan’s foots steps, it looks like Harper Collins might be the next publisher to re-negotiate their terms with Amazon. Rupert Murdoch has expressed his dislike of Amazon’s $9.99 policy for eBooks and he says that it hurts hardcover editions of the the same books.

Rupert Murdoch is the chief at News Corp, the company that owns, amongst multiple other media outfits, publishers HarperCollins. Hence, if he thinks Amazon is hurting Harper Collins book sales, there might be trouble for Amazon. Yet again that is.

It hasn’t been all that long since MacMillan settled their deal with Amazon to have their books priced higher on the Kindle. Murdoch has mentioned that even though Amazon pays them the usual $14 or whatever wholesale price they do charge, the ultimate low price hurts over all book sales from other outlets. According him, Amazon is willing to sit down with them and renegotiate the terms.

Even though he puts it as if they will talk things over, there is no doubt that he will really try to push Amazon into accepting a higher pricing scheme for HarperCollins eBooks. If this goes through, it might become the turning point in Amazon’s eBook pricing scheme. Once three such major publishers force their deals through Amazon, there will be little in the hands of Amazon to change the over all pricing of eBooks.

Of course, a lot of people will see opportunity in this and will offer books for cheaper than the major publishers. For light reading thus, a lot of people might choose cheaper alternatives. But for best sellers and major titles, buyers are the ones who will bear the price difference. Interestingly, Amazon will finally be gaining money on &9.99 books instead of losing it as they do now. But it will serve to lower their appeal to buyers, which is ultimately not a good thing.

6 comments to HarperCollins Might Also Push Amazon To Increase Kindle eBook Prices

  • Tricia

    I am all for increasing the prices IF (and only if) the authors get the increase. The authors are the ones doing the work.
    If eBooks approach the price of dead tree books, I am seriously thinking of going back to the used book stores.
    Don’t the publishers think that they may be seriously p*ssing off readers? I never use to look at the publisher but now do. Is there a way to get a comprehensive listing of the publishers and all of their subsidiaries?
    One of my favorite author’s book’s pricing “disappeared” but the publisher wasn’t listed as MacMillan but after digging a bit I found it is a subsidiary of MacMillan.

  • Broklynite

    This is such a scumbag move, especially since Amazon was making up the cost. Why does an ebook cost the same as a regular book? No, really- it’s dishonest as hell, and I applaud Amazon’s efforts to bring the price standard down, even if I think that even $9.99 is too much. But when you use a company to swing your weight around like this- not cool. I would suggest that people boycott by not buying Harper Collins, Macmillan, etc. but it’ll never happen.

  • PaulR

    If the price of eBooks is going up, can Amazon please put the graphics content back in the international distributions please? It’s often a showstopper. To show how ridiculous it is, I bought a travel guide to China that refers to maps, but the maps aren’t in the Kindle international distros. It really sucks.

  • Doug

    I don’t get it? Is “price fixing” now legal? I’m used to seeing MSRP but merchants are free to under cut this and usually do. Why is this different? Why can’t Amazon advertise $14/95 MSRP and show the $9.95 in the market basket?

    If, (big if) I buy a hard cover it’s usually at Costco where prices are typically close to what the publishers are trying to get Amazon to agree to. Alternatively, I wait for the soft cover version or visit my library. In my case e-books represent additional revenue not reduced revenue.

    I’m not building a library. I have no room for one. I just read and give away when I’m done reading. Therefore each “dead tree” version I buy steals one or more sales. Long term e-books might actually deliver more unit sales.

    However. I expect that Amazon is not fighting this too hard. They now have someone to blame for raising their prices. Their “loss leader” practice is now only helping their competitors gain market share.

  • gayle

    I assume that book prices will be going up on the Nook too, or is this just for the Kindle? I too find this confusing that they can tell Anazon what price to charge for their books as long as Amazon pays their asking price for acquiring the books. This price increase is not going to help sell hardcover books. I for one will be quite content to wait a few months for the ebook price to go down.

  • Kay

    Hi, I’m considering buying the Kindle 2 but am not sure if I should do so now or wait for a new version of the kindle. Do you have any guesstimates as to when they will come out with a new device?

    Thanks!

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