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Old 04-26-2010, 09:11 PM   #1
elpheaba
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Has anyone noticed the Sony store has agency books priced higher?

I have been looking for a couple of books that came out in April from Simon and Schuster. These books are priced at $12.99 at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. However, when I went to the Sony Ereader Store(cause I bought gift cards at target ), both of these books are $13.64. I thought the whole point of agency pricing was that wherever you bought the book, it was the same? I am so confused.

The books are The Shadow of Your Smile by Mary Higgins Clark and House Rule by Jodi Picoult. I also checked out the newest Spellman book from Lisa Lutz, $11.99 at Amazon and BN but at Sony it's $12.59.
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Old 04-27-2010, 11:45 AM   #2
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If you ask me, Agency pricing doesn't seem to be working all that great because I am running across price variations on a frequent basis.

For instance, Rachel Gibson Nothing But Trouble -- $7.99 at Amazon, $6.99 at Sony. HarperCollins
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:24 PM   #3
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The Jodi Picoult novel is $9.99 at Kobo
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:45 PM   #4
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Someone mentioned Sony's prices in another thread and noticed the increase is exactly 5%. Maybe Sony is hoping customers don't know there are other choices for purchasing ebooks.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:19 PM   #5
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I find it strange that it seems to be just titles from Simon & Schuster. Granted, I haven't done extensive research, but none of the titles that I've looked at from the other agency publishers seem to have that extra tacked on. Maybe it has something to do with sales tax? They could be charging just a flat 5% on all titles, then letting S&S figure out how to divide it up among the various jurisdictions. I don't know if that's even legal, but it was the first thought that popped into my mind when I saw that it was a flat percentage.
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Old 04-27-2010, 02:21 PM   #6
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I'm a bit confused about the agency pricing model. Doesn't it just allow the publishers to dictate a mininum price which an ebook can be sold at? Retailers can't go below that but of course they can always go above it? Or am I wrong.
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Old 04-27-2010, 03:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MerLock View Post
I'm a bit confused about the agency pricing model. Doesn't it just allow the publishers to dictate a mininum price which an ebook can be sold at? Retailers can't go below that but of course they can always go above it? Or am I wrong.
I believe that was the intent of the agency model, publishers dictate the minimum price an ebook can sell for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenH View Post
I find it strange that it seems to be just titles from Simon & Schuster. Granted, I haven't done extensive research, but none of the titles that I've looked at from the other agency publishers seem to have that extra tacked on. Maybe it has something to do with sales tax? They could be charging just a flat 5% on all titles, then letting S&S figure out how to divide it up among the various jurisdictions. I don't know if that's even legal, but it was the first thought that popped into my mind when I saw that it was a flat percentage.
I now remember the publishers originally mentioned charging sales tax and this 5% may be just that. Other retailers don't seem to be marking up 5% so maybe they chose to eat the tax.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:45 PM   #8
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I now remember the publishers originally mentioned charging sales tax and this 5% may be just that. Other retailers don't seem to be marking up 5% so maybe they chose to eat the tax.
Hmm good point. I wonder if that is true.

If the 5% mark-up is for "tax" then I'm not so upset with Sony, especially since tax is a bit higher than 5% in my area. But I must admit, I would be a lot happier if they chose to eat the tax as you would say.

Just a weird way of doing it since I believe sales tax can vary from city to city. I also remember tax being mentioned as part of the agency model, but I'm suprised that the publishers would be the one to bring it up since I don't see how charging or not charging tax makes a difference to them. Unless they see that a no tax on ebooks as too much competition with their paper bound editions. But if that is the case, how can some retailers "eat the tax" as this would go against the agency model.

Wish we heard something from Sony to explain the 5% hike in price compared to other retailers.
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Old 04-27-2010, 04:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MerLock View Post
I'm a bit confused about the agency pricing model. Doesn't it just allow the publishers to dictate a mininum price which an ebook can be sold at? Retailers can't go below that but of course they can always go above it? Or am I wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by grooks View Post
I believe that was the intent of the agency model, publishers dictate the minimum price an ebook can sell for.

...
I asked a similar question and was told publishers dictate the minimum price an ebook can sell for, per vendor. So they could tell Amazon one price and Sony another price. I may be wrong.
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Old 04-27-2010, 05:43 PM   #10
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I confess I'm confused about this whole pricing model. I thought price-fixing was illegal - something to do with cartels and restraint of competition. The UK used to have what I think was called the 'net book agreement' whereby publishers dictated the minimum price retailers could charge......but it was outlawed years ago because it was strangling the small traders in favour of the big chains. Now we seem to have come full circle.

Last edited by dickon25; 04-27-2010 at 05:48 PM. Reason: Changed 'net price' to 'net book' - memory cells still there then!!
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Old 04-27-2010, 06:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KarenH View Post
I find it strange that it seems to be just titles from Simon & Schuster.
S&S and HarperCollins, but not Macmillan or Penguin Putnam (and as far as I can tell, not Hachette either).
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Old 04-28-2010, 10:00 AM   #12
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sales tax

I thought that they still did not need to charge sales tax for online purchases? Ebooks would count as an online purchase.

The Kobo price differences could be accounted for perhaps in conversion rates from Candian dollars to US?

The agency thing doesn't seem to be going very well. Part of the problem is that they wanted to raise the minimium rate paid for ebooks, higher than what the previous pricing was. I think people would have reacted better if the minimium price was set to be paperback or less in pricing.

Amy
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:02 PM   #13
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They need to charge the local sales tax in any jurisdiction where the have a physical presence - own property, have offices, warehouses, etc, and the change to the agency pricing means sales tax is now being charged based on the publishers' locations rather than the retailers'. This means that to do it properly now, in a given state some books will be taxed and others not, when purchased through the same retailer, because they come from different publishers. My thought was that maybe Sony decided to just charge a flat rate and then let the publisher(s) deal with which states get the money and how much they get. As I said before, I don't even know if this would be legal, but it would sure be a lot easier for the retailers to handle than having six (the five publishers plus their own) different sets of sales tax jurisdictions to deal with.

Last edited by KarenH; 04-28-2010 at 05:10 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:10 PM   #14
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They need to charge the local sales tax in any jurisdiction where the have a physical presence - own property, have offices, warehouses, etc, and the change to the agency pricing means sales tax is now being charged based on the publishers' locations rather than the retailers'.
Does that mean the geo restrictions should go away, since the publisher's location is the point of sale?

(Rhetorical question. Nevermind. Of course geo restrictions won't go away because they're now charging tax; wouldn't want the customers thinking that tax-based-on-location was somehow related to sales-based-on-location.)
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Old 04-28-2010, 05:14 PM   #15
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Does that mean the geo restrictions should go away, since the publisher's location is the point of sale?

(Rhetorical question. Nevermind. Of course geo restrictions won't go away because they're now charging tax; wouldn't want the customers thinking that tax-based-on-location was somehow related to sales-based-on-location.)
You're right, that would make way too much sense!
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