Agency Model ends for Hachette at Amazon

Agency Model ends for Hachette at Amazon

Thanks to reader Bailey for giving me the heads-up!

In April of 2010, five of the six largest USA trade publishers (Random House held off almost a year) adopted what is called the “Agency Model”. That system makes it so that the former retailers, such as Amazon, are no longer actually the “sellers of record”, but act as a “sales agent” for the publisher.

The key feature of that for consumers is that the price the consumer pays is set by the publisher, not by the former retailer. No discounting, and no price competition between e-bookstores on that front.

The US DoJ (Department of Justice) took a legal action against those publishers and Apple (which the DoJ says was part of implementing the Agency Model).

Three of those five settled with the DoJ, rather than continuing to fight: HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster.

We’ve been seeing the benefit of this with HarperCollins already, as their books have been featured in Amazon discounts.

It was only a matter of time before Hachette and Simon & Schuster worked out the new contracts with Amazon…and the phrase “This price was set by the publisher” went away from their books’ Amazon product pages.

That time has apparently arrived for Hachette!

Hachette books in the USA Kindle store

That search is only for books that say they are published by “Hachette”…imprints of the company (specific publishing lines) won’t be found by that one.

Let me give you a couple of examples of Hachette books where the price has dropped recently:

I was able to locate these quickly through the recently dropped prices listing at the website

which I strongly recommend. You can give them specific books to track, and they’ll send you an e-mail when those books drop in price. That’s how Bailey was alerted…and there is no charge for that service.

I would have thrown a few more books in here, but some of the ones I checked had text-to-speech blocked, in which case I don’t link directly to them. J.K. Rowling’s latest is in that category…but this does show a significant drop on a major bestseller. That’s likely to be the headline when other blogs report on this.

I checked Simon & Schuster…no change yet, still Agency Model pricing. I think we’ll see that change before too long, though.

Thanks again, Bailey! I always appreciate it when a reader takes the time and energy to alert me (and therefore you) to something of benefit.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

4 Responses to “Agency Model ends for Hachette at Amazon”

  1. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Yikes! I checked the top 48 on that list, and 20 of them were above the $9.99 that we used to consider to be the standard Kindle price. Some of them were over $20 and one was even over $30.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Well, a few things…

      That $9.99 price was never really a standard, just on certain more popular (highly competitive) titles. The original press release said:

      “More than 90,000 books are now available in the Kindle Store, including 101 of 112 current New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases, which are $9.99, unless marked otherwise.”

      Second, a book that is $30 now would probably have been close to that price even back five years ago…some books were always more. 🙂

      Third, and most importantly, it will take a bit of time for the market forces to work. Amazon tends to match other retailers’ prices, so we’ll see price wars when everybody is freed from the Agency Model, which will create a downward price pressure (even for titles not in the “war”).

      Fourth, consumers seem to have proven that $12.99 is an acceptable price for New York Times bestseller fiction hardback equivalents. I’m not at all sure that we’ll get back to $9.99 being as common.

      Interesting, though…I just checked my price point tracking. On April 1, 2010, the first day of the Agency Model, $9.99 books were 10.80%. In my most recent tracking, on 12/1/2012, they were 14.38%. Of course, there has been a lot of shifting at other price points, but that did surprise me a bit.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    That’s a decent price for the Bosch omnibus. For $14 you get three full length novels, which if you were to buy them individually would go for $6 each (kindle) or $8 each (paper — I just checked Amazon’s prices for the individual titles). That kindle edition priced at $6 for “the Last Coyote” (one of the titles in the omnibus) is from Hachette — the mass market paper edition is from something called Grand Central Publishing. Even the $6 kindle price for the individual title seems good, and down from what mass market backlist titles are going for under agency pricing.

  3. Wendy Frazier Says:

    That’s why I received so many great notices from in the last 2 days! I’m a Happy Holiday Reader!!! :

    Ghost in the Wires 9.99 to 7.99
    Monuments Men 9.99 to 8.89
    Hell’s Corner 8.99 – 6.99
    Roger Ebert: Life Itself 9.99 – 8.89
    Deliver Us From Evil 9.99 – 8.89

    All from Hachette companies: Little/
    Brown, Center Street, and Grand Central….Thanks for the heads up Bufo.

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