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Amazon pulls Macmillan e-books in iPad-related debate

updated 11:20 am EST, Sat January 30, 2010

Amazon protests demand for Kindle price hike

Amazon has pulled Macmillian's books from the Kindle store in a protest over pricing that could signal a conflict with Apple, a source said late Friday. An insider claims that Macmillan had asked Amazon to raise prices from $10 to $15 and, as a pressure tactic, Amazon is temporarily denying sales. The NYT contact doesn't say how close Amazon and Macmillan are to clearing the impasse and which side has the upper hand.

The retaliation supposedly follows after about a year of debate but has come to a head just as Macmillan has publicly announced a deal with Apple to supply the iBookstore with titles. Neither of the newer partners has detailed pricing, but very detailed rumors have suggested that Apple will let publishers charge more for the titles they offer to the iPad and other devices. These could include prices as high as $15 for a bestseller and, through a deal that gives publishers a 70 percent cut, would provide more revenue per book than a Kindle book's actual price. Amazon actually takes a loss to reach its $10 price but is believed to have hard-locked price terms that leave publishers no opportunity to set prices themselves, unlike Apple's rumored conditions.

It's not certain if Macmillan can permanently withdraw its books from the Kindle store to serve Apple, as it may raise issues of unfair competitive practices. However, Amazon's leverage may also be in question as it has to maintain support from publishers to prevent them from defecting either to Apple or to other rivals such as Barnes & Noble or Sony.

by MacNN Staff



  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPad is better

    The iPad will be a better and richer reading experience. Plus it is far more useful, intuitive and a joy to use with its full multitouch interface.

  1. ptkdude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not just the Kindle store

    Amazon has actually pulled their books completely, not just the Kindle versions. You can still buy paper versions from other sellers through Amazon, but you cannot buy them directly from Amazon.

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Amazon is needlessly scared

    Prices will go down rapidly if the iPad sells enough units, as we have seen on the ipod.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The publisher has the upper hand

    on this one. All the publisher has to do is wait two more months until the iPad hits the streets and it will just start selling through iTMS. The content supplier should be able to set the pricing and as long as it's less expensive than a paper book I guess that should be good enough. Apple will undoubtedly set the pricing standards and other companies are going to have to match it. In this case, hardware competition is going to cost digital users more money. Amazon will likely have to give in eventually or risk losing publishers. Amazon is really raking in the dough as it is.

  1. greenG4

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Anti-competitive much?

  1. wrenchy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Amazon it trying

    to keep prices low for the consumer.

    If the tables were turned and someone released a media display form factor that allowed publishers to charge as much as they want because of the "experience" and Apple rejected a publishers notice to raise prices, all you iFans would be applauding Apple for fighting for consumer rights.

    How do you discourage piracy? Keep prices low or reasonable so that people couldn't be bothered to pirate. Apple says "Sure, charge as much as you like - as long as we get a cut". I can see pirating resulting from this.

  1. sacrums1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    under $10 is perfect for a ebook

    I have the kindle and I have 50 books on my kindle so far. I have not paid more than $10.00 for a ebook. If it's over $10, I would most likely get the paper version. There is minimum production cost for ebook compared with paper printing. The publishers are greedy, just like the record companies, and see where they are now. If they keep the price high, it will be the end of the publishing industry. Can we learn anything from the failure of the music industry? More people are going to publish their own books and sell them under $10.00, by passing the middle man. Yes, I would agree pirating will rise again if the price is too high and 'destroy' the whole industry. It happened before.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pirating needs no reason to exist

    As to greedy publishers... it doesn't work like that. The record companies had and have a completely different mindset.

    Publishing a book doesn't guarantee sales, especially self-published books. Price and desire determine whether a book will make it.

    Thinking low prices will discourage piracy is foolish thinking as long as we have bit torrent sites stealing everything including books by my authors. Lots of spouting off I see is invariably by those who have never run such businesses but seem to think they have the answer.

    Amazon wants it all, the iPad will insure they don't get it.

  1. fmlogue

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Amazon pulls Macmillan e-books

    Since it is Amazon that is refusing to sell Macmillan e-books It's obviously not true to speculate whether "… Macmillan can permanently withdraw its books from the Kindle store to serve Apple, as it may raise issues of unfair competitive practices." Obviously logic is not your strong suit.

  1. facebook_Roger

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jan 2010


    "Apple will let publishers charge more"

    In his interview with Walt Mossberg Jobs states that prices will be the same as Amazon's:

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