Hello Agency pricing, bye bye cheap ebooks?
In an email seen by The Bookseller, Gardners, wrote to retailers telling them of this change from Hachette, which it said would be effective from Monday, 20th September. Gardners provides e-books for retailers including Tesco, The Book Depository and independent bookshops. In an attached agreement document for retailers, it said: “[Retailers] shall agree that it shall not alter the customer price of any e-book without [Hachette’s] prior written consent.”
Gardners said retailers must sign up to the agreement if they wish to continue selling Hachette e-books. The email added: “Please note that due to the stringent requirements in the agreement I am unable to negotiate and this agreement will be applied to every reseller, including Amazon and Apple. These are not Gardner terms, but the publisher’s and may I suggest that should you wish to ‘discuss’ the terms, direct the queries to the publisher.”
via Hachette UK to set e-book prices from Monday | theBookseller.com.
Author’s Will Drive Change as I’ve said before, especially those with an existing following or those with nothing to lose. How publishers can respond to this is worth thinking about and I suspect that means create ebook exclusive deals with authors that agree the lions share going to authors in exchange for exclusive hardback or paperback rights.
Let the nightmare begin. Novelist Ryu Murakami plans to release his latest novel exclusively for digital bookworms through Apple Inc.’s iPad ahead of the print version. Mr. Murakami, the acclaimed author of over 15 novels including “Coin Locker Babies” and “In the Miso Soup”, replaced the publishers with a software company to help develop the e-book titled “A Singing Whale,” or “Utau Kujira” in Japanese. The digital package will include video content and set to music composed by Academy Award winning composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, according to the Japanese business daily Nikkei. The newspaper reports the e-book will cost 1,500 yen ($17) and will be ready to download pending Apple’s approval. Apple Japan and Mr. Murakami did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.
via Ryu Murakami to Release Novel Directly Through Apple iPad – Japan Real Time – WSJ.
I posted the news part of this over on Irish Publishing News but I thought I add some thoughts about it here, where I’m free to comment.
The News Bit
Apple‘s iBooks program is now available for download for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but only after users update their iPhone & iPod Touch operating systems to the new iOS4.
Irish readers do not yet have access to paid titles in Apple’s iBookstore, the iTunes for books, but they can download free Project Gutenberg ebooks to the iPod or iPhone and can also read the free Winnie The Pooh ebook that comes pre-loaded in Apple’s iBooks.
Read The Rest
The Review Bit
First things first, iBooks on my iPod Touch is terribly slow. Slow to load the bookself, slow to load a book once clicked on and slow to respond to gestures. I’m used to that though, I find pretty much all ereading software on the Touch slow. It’s one of my major issues with ereading.
Once you get over that it has some decent features, the Dictionary, Highlight, Note and Search features for instance are pretty damn good and invoked fairly easily. I like them all and find them useful. I expect much more so with books other than Winne The Pooh.
And it’s there that my biggest problem arises. Right now all I can get is free Project Gutenberg ebooks and the free Winnie The Pooh book provided by Apple. Hopefully when the iPad goes on sale we will actually see some recent or new books for sale. There is no word yet on iPad pricing in Ireland but we can assume that it will be close to the price in France and Germany, €499.
The actual reading experience is not noticeably different to Amazon’s Kindle App, certainly not good enough to make me change unless the selection and price is worth the discomfort. Overall I’d say that iBooks is adequate, no better or worse than pretty much all the other ereading software for the Touch. Maybe that will change once I actually use the iPad itself rather than iBooks on the Touch.
Waiting seems to be the theme of the day!