Remember how Amazon Kindle was supposed to give us all a more affordable way to buy and read books? After all, Amazon was supposed to set its own e-book prices so low to make it possible for Kindle owners to save money in the long run. We always knew that large publishers would not give up their profits easily. That’s exactly what has happened with Macmillan. The publisher has reached an agreement with Amazon to set its own e-book prices. It will also keep 70% of its sales for itself.
What does that mean for us consumers? It means e-book prices could be on the rise, essentially making the cost of owning a Kindle much higher than before. Of course, Macmillan is not the only publisher capable of standing up to Amazon. More large publishers will follow suit, and we could technically see higher e-book prices across the board. Authors Guild executive, Paul Aiken, put it best:
here are at least five other publishers who can get this deal from Amazon… The other publishers are going to follow suit. It would be irresponsible for them not to.
Apple had the same issues when negotiating music deals with iTunes. A price hike across the board will probably not affect Amazon that badly. But consumers are going to have to pay up more to get their hands on e-books that you can’t sell or share with others. Amazon can always make it up to its customers by lowering Kindle prices or introducing subscription plans to help lower the cost of owning these e-books.
This issue is not going to die down anytime soon. With Apple getting into e-book business as well, there is going to be a lot of back and forth action among Apple, Amazon, B&N, and other e-book reader makers. Publishers are going to have more bargaining power as more e-book readers make it big. Let’s hope these companies don’t get too greedy.
Your take: what’s your reaction to the possibility of publishers increasing e-book prices?