Are Penguin Kindle Books the Next Casualty of the Apple Pricing Model
Update: Wall Street Journal reports that Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins have struck deals with Amazon. Most books will be priced at $12.99 to $14.99 but bestsellers will be priced at $9.99. Just like Apple!
Update x 2: Books that are sourced by Ingram may no longer be downloadable until new agreements are struck even if you already purchased them.
A couple of readers tipped me off that the Kindle versions of Penguin books are no longer available for books beyond yesterday’s release date. In doing a search of my own it appears that all April books and forward have no Kindle availability. For some, the Kindle link shows up on the search page: Kindle link no longer shows up.
But not on the main book page as an alternative format:
When clicking on the Kindle link, it brings up a page but does not allow you to purchase the book.
The buy buttons for the physical books are still up. I checked out the following books (among others) and the results were the same:
It occurs to me that for the Agency 5 books (Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon&Schuster, Penguin, and Hachette) that almost all retailers but Apple won’t have agreements in place by tomorrow rendering the iBookstore the only place where many of these digital books can be bought until new agreements are put in place. Sony sent out an email to its readers stating the following:
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.
Fictionwise said to me in response to a support query about the content it would be supplying in the future:
Yes, you will continue to receive your 15% discount.
Due to industry changes, our content suppliers are currently unable to offer certain titles from several large publishers. We are working with our content partners to resolve this.
Some retailers won’t be willing or able to come to those agreements. At least in the short term, Apple and the publishers have effectively made Apple the only place to go for some books. Right now that appears to be just limited to Penguin books as it there are Kindle versions still available for pre order for Avon and Macmillan books. I’m unsure about S&S and Hachette as I couldn’t remember off the top of my head what titles are releasing in April. As I said on Sunday, this is going to get uglier before it gets better.