The final agreement in the Department of Justice’s settlement with HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, and Simon & Schuster gave the publishers 30 days to begin the process of reaching new sales terms over e-books with its e-tailers. HarperCollins was the first to move, reaching deals with e-tailers that it said “are consistent with the final judgment.” The key to those terms, of course, is that e-tailers are free to set prices at whatever level they choose rather than sell e-books under prices set by publishers according to the agency model. HC said it’s up to e-tailers about when and how they want to begin discounting. Amazon began to immediately cut prices; two HC bestsellers, for example, The Fallen Angel and Solo, are now priced at $9.99 (the two titles are also priced at $9.99 on the iBookstore as of September 11). Those titles, however, were still selling at $12.59 and $14.99, respectively, on BN.com this morning.
S&S had no comment on its talks with e-tailers about new terms, saying it doesn’t discuss negotiations with its customers. Two S&S bestsellers, Paterno and Steve Jobs, were still selling at agency pricing levels this morning. It’s worth noting that on Amazon, the Kindle edition of the HC titles show the “Amazon Price,” while for S&S titles the “Amazon Price” is left blank and the price falls under the “New From” column.
HBG had not returned an e-mail about its status this morning, but a spot check of some of its top titles showed no discounting on Amazon yet.