Facing the inevitable
E-tail giant Amazon, which also makes the Kindle e-reader, has renegotiated two more deals with book publishers to echo the ‘agency pricing' deal Apple has been offering publishers for its iPad, according to the WSJ.
When first confronted with this shifting of the goalposts brought about by the iPad - which will go on sale this weekend - Amazon responded petulantly. Confronted by a demand from Macmillan to shift to the agency model - where the publisher rather than the retailer gets to set the price - Amazon temporarily delisted Macmillan books from its site.
"We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books," said Amazon in a blog post at the time.
With the iPad about to launch, this capitulation has gathered pace, and now Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins (which shares an owner with the WSJ) are to adopt the agency model on Amazon. HarperCollins chief exec Brian Murray told the WSJ that the deal followed a month of negotiation with Amazon.
Despite it being backlit, initial reviews about the reading experience on the iPad have been favourable. It's not yet clear whether the iPad will shake-up the publishing market in the way the iPad did music and the iPhone smartphones, but at the very least it's forcing the incumbents to adapt their business practices.