Amazon Will Allow Higher E-Book Prices, as iPad Competition Heats Up
Amazon.com finds itself embroiled in a dispute with publisher Macmillan, which wants to raise prices of e-books for Amazon's Kindle e-reader to between $12.99 and $14.99. Macmillan cites the presence of competing mobile devices on the market as a reason for its decision. Apple's iPad tablet PC and iBooks store have changed the competitive landscape for electronic texts and will likely force competitors such as Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble to adjust by altering their prices and the features of their e-reader devices.The Apple iPad may be two months away from its retail debut, but some of its effects are already being felt on the e-reader industry: Amazon.com found itself in a weekend dispute with Macmillan, publisher of bestsellers such as Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall." Macmillan wanted to raise the price of e-books to take into account new devices hitting the market. "Looking to the future and to a growing digital business, we need to establish the same sort of business model, one that encourages new devices and new stores," Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote in a Jan. 31 statement on the company Website. "It also needs to ensure that intellectual property can be widely available digitally at a price that is both fair to the consumer and allows those who create it and publish it to be fairly compensated."
The publishing house wanted to raise prices for most of its titles to between $12.99 and $14.99, whereas Amazon.com's price for e-books has generally been $9.99. Amazon.com balked at the move, pulling Macmillan titles from its e-book online store.
"I believe $14.99 is reasonable. It's a heckuva lot less than what I paid for new hardcovers. (And I get to read them on Kindle!) People who waited for paperbacks can wait for the cheaper eBook edition."Others, of course, were irritated about the price increase.
"If they want higher prices then it is time for them to provide quality formatting. Not just quickly scanned with no effort to fix the OCR errors. The frequent formatting errors would no longer be acceptable."