While it continues to fight the Department of Justice’s e-book price-fixing charges in court, Macmillan has quietly started offering retailers some flexibility to discount certain titles. In recent months, Macmillan began to allow their agents to discount e-books that are priced at $13.99 and above by up to 10% of the digital list price on a title by title basis.
For instance, Thinking Fast and Slow and Bring Up the Bodies both have an e-book list price of $14.99 on the Macmillan Web site, but are available at Amazon for $13.49. Penguin, which is also fighting the DoJ in court, has offered no new discounts, and, unlike Macmillan, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins did not reach a settlement agreement with the European Commission over price fixing charges last week. A deal with the EU is expected soon, however, which could lead to a settlement in the U.S. as Penguin looks to smooth the way for its merger with Random House.
For more information on how e-book retailers are implementing so called "agency 2" terms, see this week's issue of PW.