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Old 05-09-2010, 11:26 PM   #1
AnemicOak
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Wasn't agency pricing supposed to mean the same prices everywhere?

Maybe I'm misinformed? I thought the idea with Agency 5 pricing was the publishers set the selling price and it would be the same everywhere.

I was just tracking down some books for my Mom and noticed that the prices are different depending on store. These particular books are from Harper Collins and both Kobo and Sony are higher than Amazon and B&N. Not by a huge amount, but it brought the question to mind.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:49 PM   #2
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Yeah, you noticed that too?

Sony almost always is about 35 cents more than elsewhere, when I've noticed a price difference.
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Old 05-09-2010, 11:51 PM   #3
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I thought that was how it was going to be also. I just gave up and will not be purchasing until everything gets sorted out with realistic pricing.

Long live the Library and smashwords!
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Old 05-10-2010, 03:07 AM   #4
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I thought so, too, but obviously that's not at all the case. Have found that Amazon is consistently higher (but that's probably because they are adding VAT to purchases since I'm a long-time Amazon customer for p-books and other stuff). For most books I've been interested in lately, Kobo prices are $1 to $3 cheaper than the Sony store - though not always - and many titles are in the $9 to $9.99 price range that used to be the norm.

I guess the publishers cut their own deals with each distributor - or that's the only way I can figure the price differences.
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnemicOak View Post
Maybe I'm misinformed? I thought the idea with Agency 5 pricing was the publishers set the selling price and it would be the same everywhere.
My understanding was that the agency price was the lowest price that a retailer could sell it for but that a retailer could sell it for a higher price. The idea was to prevent discounting. Otherwise, why would there be a clause in the agreement with Apple that no price would be lower than Apple's price?
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Old 05-10-2010, 10:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rhadin View Post
My understanding was that the agency price was the lowest price that a retailer could sell it for but that a retailer could sell it for a higher price. The idea was to prevent discounting. Otherwise, why would there be a clause in the agreement with Apple that no price would be lower than Apple's price?
Amazon had with the previous model a similar clause.

From http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog...9-ebooks.html:
Quote:
Amazon screwed with this model when they brought out the Kindle: the contracts they pushed at the publishers defined Amazon as being a publisher, who would license subsidiary rights from the original publisher and republic the books via Kindle. This enabled Amazon to add onerous and arguably anticompetitive contractual terms to their contracts because they weren't simply acting as consignment wholesalers, but as licensees: notably, requiring publishers not to sell ebooks for a lower price elsewhere than Amazon were selling them via their store, and allowing Amazon to pick a price point, sell at that price point, and only pay the publisher a percentage royalty, rather than a fixed discount off a (publisher-set) SRP.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:00 AM   #7
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For the books that I have investigated:

Amazon and B&N:
Random House -a mixture of MSRP or discounted 10-20%
Big 5 - MSRP + local sales tax (shows up at checkout)

Sony:
Random House - discounts of 5-30% off MSRP
Big 5 - MSRP + 5%

I can't tell if this is Sony is marking up 5% to cover the taxes they are required to collect, or if you also get charged the taxes, too. Anyone in the US buy from Sony lately?

Kobo:
Big 5 - US MSRP + 9%
Random House - discounted 5-40% off MSRP

Kobo shows me US pricing as their MSRP - I don't know if they use ISP to change pricing. It's possible, since I would think they have to use Canadian MSRP for Canadian customers? I wonder if they are also collecting US sales tax for the Big 5, or do they have to collect Canadian GST/PST? My local sales tax is 8.75%, so maybe that is the 9% markup I'm seeing? My US credit card charges a 2.96% exchange fee, so they are automatically more expensive for me.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyparticular View Post
For the books that I have investigated:

Kobo:
Big 5 - US MSRP + 9%
Random House - discounted 5-40% off MSRP
It'll be interesting to compare these prices to the Borders ebook store when that opens next month as Kobo's powering that store.
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Old 05-10-2010, 11:04 AM   #9
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Noticed that myself
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyparticular View Post
For the books that I have investigated:

Amazon and B&N:
Random House -a mixture of MSRP or discounted 10-20%
Big 5 - MSRP + local sales tax (shows up at checkout)

Sony:
Random House - discounts of 5-30% off MSRP
Big 5 - MSRP + 5%

I can't tell if this is Sony is marking up 5% to cover the taxes they are required to collect, or if you also get charged the taxes, too. Anyone in the US buy from Sony lately?

Kobo:
Big 5 - US MSRP + 9%
Random House - discounted 5-40% off MSRP

Kobo shows me US pricing as their MSRP - I don't know if they use ISP to change pricing. It's possible, since I would think they have to use Canadian MSRP for Canadian customers? I wonder if they are also collecting US sales tax for the Big 5, or do they have to collect Canadian GST/PST? My local sales tax is 8.75%, so maybe that is the 9% markup I'm seeing? My US credit card charges a 2.96% exchange fee, so they are automatically more expensive for me.

Good question.

List a few books and have people from other states check. Or change your address to a different state for a little bit and look yourself?
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:25 PM   #11
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I saw this a couple of days ago on the Kobo blog:

Quote:
As I mentioned in a previous post, the period after agency would involve some weirdness as we all work to iron out our systems. Here is the first manifestation of that. Starting April 3, because of the intricacies of HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster’s state and local tax requirements, the prices of titles from these publishers are “tax included, where applicable”. You can request a receipt which will itemize any taxes charged by sending an email to feedback@kobobooks.com.

Once we have our tax systems upgraded (and a separate building purchased to house them and their legion of grey-suited attendants), we’ll return to displaying a customer price on item pages, with applicable taxes, if any, itemized at time of purchase.

Weird? A bit. A solution only a tax attorney could love? Truly. But the alternative was S&S and Harper removing their titles, which would make us all very sad.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:32 PM   #12
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So, let's see.

1. Publishing complains noone reads anymore.

2. Solution? Put prices up.

Make books less attractive compared to DVDS, CDS, mp3s, video downloads, etc.

That will ensure book sales rise and appear to be better value compared to other entertainment options, won't it? It will also ensure that a greater percentage of the population read, likewise?

Also possible that they speak crap about 1., too, of course.
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:44 PM   #13
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Thanks for the info KarenH. I guess that's probable why they're higher in Sony's store too. Strange way to do it though since taxes are different depending on state (and sometimes county, city, etc.).
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Old 05-10-2010, 12:45 PM   #14
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My contact at Kobo told me they use IP address to determine location for people who are not logged into the site, but once you log in it uses your saved info. So if I go visit my sister in California and browse the site without logging in, it will show me the American stuff in US prices. But if I log in as me while I am there, it will turn over to the Canadian content and prices and I can buy off my regular account just as I do at home---and presumably with whatever taxes or surcharges I pay at home
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:34 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompe View Post
Amazon had with the previous model a similar clause.

From http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog...9-ebooks.html:
Amazon's clause was different (I was involved in contract negotiations and so had a copy in hand). Amazon's clause was that the publisher couldn't set a retail price for establishing the wholesale price lower than the retail price that Amazon was being given. IOW, if Hachette sold a book to Amazon for $20, it couldn't sell it to Sony for $19 nor could it give Amazon a 40% discount and Sony a 50% discount to set the wholesale price. However, Amazon could set the final retail price at whatever it wanted as could Sony so it was still possible for Sony to sell the book for less than Amazon.

This is different than setting of the retail price under the Apple contract, at least as I understand it.

Under the Apple contract, Hachette could sell the book to the consumer for whatever price it wants but that price cannot be higher than the price Hachette sets for the same book at Amazon -- it could, however, be less than the price it sells the book for at Amazon.
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