Will the Agency Model Survive? Hachette, Amazon and the Future of Agency Pricing
This article originally published on Friday, May 16, 2014 at PublishersWeekly.com.
By Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly
“For publishers, negotiating terms of sale with Amazon has always been difficult. But reports last week of Amazon’s hardball tactics with the Hachette Book Group suggest that this year’s negotiations could be among the most brutal yet.
One likely reason is that when the publishers’ 2012 consent decrees in the e-book price-fixing case begin to expire this fall, so too will Amazon’s ability to discount e-books. The parties don’t comment on specific negotiations (and neither Hachette or Amazon will comment directly on the current dispute or ongoing talks). But it is fair to say that Amazon officials likely see the current negotiations as their best chance to push for the end of agency pricing for e-books, and are apparently prepared to bring to bear all the pressure they can on publishers—whether on the Kindle side, or print. The question is, will the publishers stick together to keep agency pricing for e-books?”