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Old 03-02-2010, 01:43 PM   #1
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Macmillan CEO John Sargent on the agency model, availability and price

From http://blog.macmillanspeaks.com/macm...ity-and-price/

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After the events of the past several weeks, I have been in touch with many of you. It has become clear to me that there is far too little accurate information available in this time of unprecedented change. The issues we all face together are complex, and no news story or 140-character snippet can adequately address them. Therefore, I propose to write you occasionally, when I get a sense that there is a need for direct information.

The first topic is the e-book agency model, and how it will affect our business in the near term. Starting at the end of March, we will move from the “retail model” of selling e-books (publishers sell to retailers, who then sell to readers at a price that the retailer determines) to the “agency model” (publishers set the price, and retailers take a commission on the sale to readers). We will make this change with all our e-book retailers simultaneously.

Rather than address the long-term or author royalty consequences of the change (I’ll save that for next time), I’ll focus on the two major effects at retail. Note that these changes will apply to every e-book retailer with whom we do business:

1. Availability. All the new adult trade books for which we have the rights to publish in e-book format will be available at the first release of the printed book. We will no longer delay the publication of e-books (read: no windowing). Readers were clearly frustrated at the lack of availability of new titles, and the change to the agency model will solve this problem. We are also working hard to make more books available in digital editions. The consumer will have broader choice and much greater availability.

2. Price. We will price our e-books at a wide variety of prices. In the ink-on-paper world we publish new books in different formats (hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback) at prices that generally range from $35.00 to $5.99. In the digital world we will price each book individually as we do today. Generally e-book editions of hardcover new releases will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99; a few books will be priced higher and lower. This is a tremendous discount from the price of the printed hardcover books, which generally range from $28.00 to $24.00. E-book editions of New York Times hardcover bestsellers will be priced at $12.99 or lower while they are on the printed list. E-book editions of paperback new releases will be generally priced between $9.99 and $6.99.

...
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:32 PM   #2
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BULLSHIT! New Christine Warren's book is paperback, and its price is 7.99$ As an e-book (no hardcover, sorry), its prices varies between 9.99$ and 14.00$.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:40 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anurag View Post
2. Price. We will price our e-books at a wide variety of prices. In the ink-on-paper world we publish new books in different formats (hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback) at prices that generally range from $35.00 to $5.99. In the digital world we will price each book individually as we do today. Generally e-book editions of hardcover new releases will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99; a few books will be priced higher and lower. This is a tremendous discount from the price of the printed hardcover books, which generally range from $28.00 to $24.00. E-book editions of New York Times hardcover bestsellers will be priced at $12.99 or lower while they are on the printed list. E-book editions of paperback new releases will be generally priced between $9.99 and $6.99.
This does not make sense to me. If a "mass market paperback" is $5.99 then the ebook should be a bit less than this. He is trying to base the ebook price off the hardcover price instead of the paperback price. The content in each book is exactly the same. The ebook price should be based off the lowest priced paper book.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:51 PM   #4
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Interesting, how he cites price ranges from highest to lowest instead of lowest to highest like everyone else. Freudian?
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:52 PM   #5
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As long as they price it like that--and actually drop to paper back prices or below when the paper back is out--I have no problems with it.

As for $5.99 for a Mass Market paperback--who many have that cover price? Even the very cheaply made fantasy books etc. I sometimes buy tend to be at least $6.99 or $7.99 these days. Kindle versions, for me thus far, have been the exact same price as the paperback on Amazon, so I've not had any gripes.
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Old 03-02-2010, 02:53 PM   #6
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Sargent? For a minute I thought John Sergeant was CEO of Macmillan! I'm disappointed at this, this is worse for the consumer and makes no difference to the publisher whatsoever, they still get the same amount of money in the end and they should be happy ebooks are selling. I still don't get the "cannibalising" theory.

Last edited by seagull; 03-02-2010 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmaul1114 View Post
As for $5.99 for a Mass Market paperback--who many have that cover price? Even the very cheaply made fantasy books etc. I sometimes buy tend to be at least $6.99 or $7.99 these days. Kindle versions, for me thus far, have been the exact same price as the paperback on Amazon, so I've not had any gripes.
But the article was implying that the ebook price would be based off the hardcover price, which does not make sense. It should be based off the lowest priced paper version of the book. The quality of the paper or the binding or the cover has zero affect on an ebook, it is digital.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:19 PM   #8
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But the article was implying that the ebook price would be based off the hardcover price, which does not make sense. It should be based off the lowest priced paper version of the book. The quality of the paper or the binding or the cover has zero affect on an ebook, it is digital.
The last part seemed to state it would be based off the hardcover when ONLY the hardcover was in print. And the e-book price would drop when the paper back came out.

Take this quote from the first post above:

"E-book editions of paperback new releases will be generally priced between $9.99 and $6.99."

Now, maybe he only means for books that get a paperback release and not a hardcover. I took that to mean the prices would drop to $6.99-9.99 when the paperback was out--and that price in that range would depend on the price of the paperback version ($6.99 mass market, or $10-15 trade paperback etc.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmaul1114 View Post
The last part seemed to state it would be based off the hardcover when ONLY the hardcover was in print. And the e-book price would drop when the paper back came out.

Take this quote from the first post above:

"E-book editions of paperback new releases will be generally priced between $9.99 and $6.99."

Now, maybe he only means for books that get a paperback release and not a hardcover. I took that to mean the prices would drop to $6.99-9.99 when the paperback was out--and that price in that range would depend on the price of the paperback version ($6.99 mass market, or $10-15 trade paperback etc.
As I say, today it isn't true. Only pb edition -> 7.99$ eBook edition 9.99$ - 14$ And I've looked at two different stores. Sorry, but this is strictly a lie (no hardcover, so the maximum price should be 9.99$, that it's more expensive than paperback.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:40 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Terisa de morgan View Post
As I say, today it isn't true. Only pb edition -> 7.99$ eBood edition 9.99$ - 14$ And I've looked at two different stores. Sorry, but this is strictly a lie.
Fair enough. Then people vote with their wallet by not buying MacMillan e-books.

All the Kindle books I've bought have been $9.99 when it was something in hardcover only. Paper backs have been the same price as the mass market paperback, or $9.99 when the paper back was a trade paperback that was $14 or so cover price.

I have no problem paying the same as the print version for an e-book, I pretty much only read books once, so the experience is the same for me--with the bonus of not having a book to take up space or hassle with getting rid of.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:41 PM   #11
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WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO $5.99 FOR PAPERBACK RELEASES IN EBOOK?

This $9.99-$6.99 for a book priced $7.99 before any discounts is 100% BULLSHIT!
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:47 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Terisa de morgan View Post
BULLSHIT! New Christine Warren's book is paperback, and its price is 7.99$ As an e-book (no hardcover, sorry), its prices varies between 9.99$ and 14.00$.
I think he made it clear in his blog that these changes will take place at the end of this month. From a PR perspective, I think he'd want to wait on the repricing until then so that he can say to the public: "See how much better the Agent model is for consumers". If you really want it as an ebook, I suggest you wait a month.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:50 PM   #13
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Yes? I think I'm going to wait muuuuuuch more time. I've never liked when you go to supermarket, they give you an incredible offer, an incredible discount... because they had risen the price before. Same here.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:51 PM   #14
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the agency model prices only kick in after the end of March, so we'll only see the relevant pricing at that time so complaining now is a bit premature.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:52 PM   #15
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the agency model prices only kick in after the end of March, so we'll only see the relevant pricing at that time so complaining now is a bit premature.
But we are being told we could see $9.99 for a $7.99 paperback.
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