Another Blow in the Great Amazon/Apple Publishing War: HarperCollins

Illustration for article titled Another Blow in the Great Amazon/Apple Publishing War: HarperCollins

During media megaconglomorate News Corp's earnings call—which owns publisher HarperCollins—the Dark Lord Rupert Murdoch reveals, "We don't like the Amazon model of $9.99….we think it really devalues books and hurts all the retailers of hardcover books." Ruh roh.

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Illustration for article titled Another Blow in the Great Amazon/Apple Publishing War: HarperCollins

And here's the deathblow: Murdoch says News Corp's deal with Apple "does allow some flexibility and higher prices" and now Amazon's willing to renegotiate.

It seems brutally clear that every publisher is going to shift to the agency model: They set their own price for books, and whoever's selling it takes a cut. Sure, they get less absolute dollars per book than selling it wholesale—say, selling it to Amazon for $15, who takes a $5 hit to sell it for $9.99—but they're convinced it'll preserve the value of books. I'm sure that's exactly what's going to happen when ebook prices everywhere creep up by several dollars—people will totally think they're worth more. [MediaMemo]

DISCUSSION

I am remarkably dense on this subject, I admit - but am I wrong to think that, as it stands today, the ebook concept is the end of the library system and "borrowing a book" as we have all done for centuries? Our family visits the library regularly, and we borrow / loan books regularly. In addition to publishers being able to charge whatever they like (God Bless Steve Jobs) it appears they are ending some of the best parts of having a physical book. Maybe in our future we will mouse into a virtual library and digitally borrow a book on our iPad version 6, but I get the sense that there is no intention to support the book borrowing system that the world currently embraces.