The Digital Reader

Charting the eBook Evolution since 2010

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Hachette Has Dropped Agency Pricing on eBooks

December 4th, 2012 by · 4 Comments · Antitrust, ebookstore news

Remember 3 months back when HarperCollins and S&S abruptly renegotiated their ebook contracts to allow ebookstores to set their own prices?

It looks like Hachette has followed suit. I’ve just noticed that a number of Hachette titles in the Kindle no longer say that the prices were set by the publisher. Instead they say that the ebooks are sold by Hachette Book Group (example, example).

What’s more, Amazon is discounting the ebooks by $1 to $4 from the list price, and both Barnes & Noble and Apple are making similar discounts. Kobo does not seem to have joined the party just yet.

It’s taken quite a bit longer than I anticipated, but it seems Hachette has finally complied with the settlement agreement. Wow. It only took them 3 months. Judge Cote approved the anti-trust settlement in early September, and the other 2 US publishers who agreed to the settlement HarperCollins negotiated new contracts in under a week.

Hachette took quite a bit longer to adjust to the inevitable, but they are still moving faster than Simon and Schuster,  the third publisher to agree to the settlement. eBooks published by S&S still show that they are covered under the agency contract, even though that contract was supposed to have been canceled in 7 days.

And Hachette is also moving faster than the other 2 publishers and Apple which are still planning to fight the antitrust prosecution filed against them in federal court earlier this year. That case won’t go to trial until June 2013, and that means we’re going to be looking at a bifurcated ebook market for at least the next 12 to 18 months, and that could even stretch out for several years before all the appeals are filed and resolved.

What fun times we live in, no?

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