Amazon Go Cheap On The Hard Penguins

Amazon has added a little touch of strategic finesse to their stand-off with Penguin (Pearson Group) since other leading publishing houses agreed terms to implement the agency model on e-books on April 1st. Thirty days have elapsed and Penguin have yet to thrash out a finalized deal with online retailer Amazon. The heavy-handed gloves are now off, and Amazon has taken to a more subtle form of letting their customers know they are in the book business to offer books to customers on their discount terms.
Amazon has not been able to list penguin e-books for the last month due to them not reaching agreement with penguin on the new agency model. Now, according to today’s Wall street Journal – on selected titles – Amazon have begun listing some penguin hardback titles at $9.99. This complexed game of shadow-boxing makes you wonder if Penguin are looking for anything more than Macmillan or HarperCollins were, or is it a case that Amazon intended deliberately isolation one major publisher to demonstrate the point that they want to be seen to be on the side of the customer in offering the best book discounts possible online.
Either way, this is a far wiser strategy by Amazon than the jack-boot strategy of removing buy buttons employed during March. I have one overriding feeling about the agency model adopted by the major publishers in their agreements reached so far with Amazon – whose executives have spent many an hour locked away behind polished doors – and it is the belief that publishers are still not wholeheartedly behind the growth and development of e-books. What I see is the battle for control rather than any innovation and prosperity for e-books.       

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