Texas AG Turns Magnifying Glass on eBook Market

The attorney general for the state of Texas has approached two of the main publishing players who introduced the agency model for e-books and requested undisclosed documentation. At the moment, the Texas attorney general is believed to be making preliminary inquiries about pricing practices operating in the electronic book market and the potential effects for the consumer.
From WSJ:

“Two major publishers said they have been approached by the state agency. David Young, chief executive of Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group, said his publishing house has been contacted by Texas officials. He declined further comment.


A spokeswoman for News Corp.’s HarperCollins Publishers said the publishing house has received a request for documents from the Texas attorney general’s office, declining further comment. News Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal.”

Apple, who extended the launch of its iPad internationally this week, used the carrot of the agency model to attract the largest of the mainstream publishers already operating the agency model in other e-book sales channels. The agency model allows publishers decide their own retail prices and shares sales profits on a 70/30 split with the sellers. The introduction of the agency model was a direct reaction to sellers like Amazon pricing their e-books at a discounted $9.99 standard. Subsequently, Amazon did make agreements with five of the major publishers to implement the agency model on the books it sells for them.

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