Amazon drops Macmillan from catalogue after ebook pricing disagreement

Amazon has removed books from publisher Macmillan from its virtual stock following a disagreement over the pricing of ebooks.


A meeting between the two companies last Thursday failed to resolve the problem. Amazon removed Macmillan books from its US website over the weekend.

Amazon posted on its site that negotiations failed over Macmillan’s move to a pricing model where $12.99 (£8.16) to $14.99 (£9.42) is levied for ebook versions of bestsellers and the majority of hardcover releases. Amazon has been criticised by the publishing community for retailing bestselling ebooks at $9.99 (£6.27).

Amazon’s statement read, “We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles. We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan’s terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over its own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for ebooks.”

It added, “Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 (£9.42) for a bestselling ebook. We don’t believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced ebooks as an alternative.”

Macmillan’s chief executive, John Sargent, said the dispute with Amazon was about the “long-term viability and stability of the digital book market”.

“Amazon and Macmillan both want a healthy and vibrant future for books. We clearly do not agree on how to get there,” he said in a statement to authors, illustrators and literary agents, posted online.

Customers searching for Macmillan titles on Amazon’s US site this morning saw a list entitled “available from these best sellers” but no Amazon price or order button.

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