In a conference with analysts and media discussing News Corp.’s second quarter results, chairman Rupert Murdoch said he expects to soon be negotiating new terms over e-book prices with Amazon. “We don’t like the Amazon model of selling everything at $9.99,” Murdoch said on the call. “We think it really devalues books and it hurts all the retailers of the hardcover books.” Murdoch said News Corp--parent company of HarperCollins--likes the e-book business, but said it wants some room to maneuver in it. HC's agreement with Apple “allows for a variety of slightly higher prices” than Amazon, Murdoch explained. “There will be prices very much less than the printed copies of books, but still will not be fixed in a way that Amazon has been doing it. It appears that Amazon is now ready to sit down with us again and renegotiate pricing,” Murdoch said.
Murdoch’s e-book comments were part of comments in which he defended the value of content in the digital age, and said content is now worth more than ever. “Content is not just king. It is the emperor of all things electronic,” Murdoch said. “Devices and platforms are proliferating, but this clever technology is merely an empty vessel without any great content. Machines are not powered by batteries but by creativity and ingenuity. By content that is original, accessible and trusted,” In reeling off a list or companies News owns that will benefit from the need for content, Murdoch included Harper, calling its “one of the world’s leading publishing houses.”