In an update on the status of negotiations between Macmillan and Amazon, Macmillan CEO John Sargent said he hoped it would be back to business as usual soon. Though he didn't indicate when the buy button on Macmillan titles would be restored on Amazon, he said "things have moved far enough that hopefully this is the last time I will be writing to you on this subject" and that, despite appearances, "Amazon has been working very, very hard and always in good faith to find a way forward with us." Buy buttons were not restored as of Friday morning, though they could be back before the weekend.

Sargent also addressed the issue of digital royalty rates, which is something agents have been concerned about for some time and many said would become even more of a hot-button issue if, and when, the agency model became the reigning one for ebooks. Sargent said he had been in discussions with the Authors Guild on the subject for weeks and, more recently, with agents, noting that the house has begun "informing them of our new terms." Although Sargent didn't release the specifics of those terms, the Authors Guild posted a statement on its Web site saying the publisher has adopted a 25% royalty rate for digital editions: "Sargent confirmed that Macmillan's standard e-book royalty would be 25% of receipts under their new boilerplate contract." This is a turnaround for Macmillan, which this fall announced a 20% rate on digital editions, a rate that the Guild had criticized.

Click here to read Sargent's letter in full.