Agency Model ends for Random House, Penguin: new discounts

Agency Model ends for Random House, Penguin: new discounts

Earlier today, I gave you a heads-up that something was happening, when some of the New York Times bestseller hardback fiction equivalents were unavailable in the USA Kindle store. I noticed they were from Random House (including its imprints), and speculated that it had to do with the end of the Agency Model for that publisher.

Well, that was it!

It no longer says, “This price was set by the publisher.” for Random House or Penguin (they merged recently).

Penguin was the last of five publishers to settle with the U.S. Department of Justice in a legal action against them (and Apple) for price-fixing, utilizing the Agency Model.

That is now over for e-books in the USA.

The Agency Model could return in a couple of years, but the situation would be different.

The key thing is that Amazon (and other retailers) can now discount e-books from Penguin and Random House again…and we’ve started seeing those already.

This will allow for price wars for the holiday season..yay!

We should also stop seeing e-books priced higher than the p-books (paperbooks) as much…it will still happen sometimes. A few reasons it happens that are unaffected by this:

  • The paperback price is a pre-order, and the e-book price is still based on the hardback
  • The p-book is either used, a bargain copy, or not coming from Amazon
  • Someone is looking at two different territories when doing the comparison (the USA and France, for example)

There are many imprints (typically, a part of the company that specializes in a particular sort of book, like mysteries or science fiction, and that has a different name) for Random House and Penguin, which makes a comprehensive search complicated. Here are a couple of links for their books in the USA (outside the USA will not be directly affected by this change) Kindle store, and then I’ll link to some books that recently dropped.

Penguin books in the Kindle store
Random House books in the Kindle store

Note that the price-changing won’t happen on every title, and it make take a few days for them to process it all. Amazon now gets to decide the consumer prices again, and there is a lot involved in that (as a former bookstore manager, it surprised me that the publishers wanted to set the consumer prices, which the Agency Model enabled them to do…it wasn’t their area of expertise).

Here are a few titles I noticed. I got these by going to the most useful site for Kindle owners on the internet:


Among their many free and excellent services is tracking price drops for you. You can list books, and they’ll send you a free e-mail when it drops an amount you specify. You should go check those lists, your wishlists, and any other way you are tracking books to see what has gone down. They list the most recent drops…that’s what I checked.

I specifically chcecked price drops in the past 24 hours, and went down at least a dollar.

As usual, I won’t knowingly link to books which block text-to-speech access.

There are, of course, many, many more.

By the way, I’m going to try some new code here…it’s supposed to let you see a preview of the book cover when you hover over it (that probably will work in a browser, maybe on a Fire, but probably not on a non-Fire Kindle. I’d appreciate feedback on it…I don’t want to cause anybody any problems with it, and I hope it helps. I just tested it on this computer (which I have borrowed), and it didn’t seem to do or hurt anything. 🙂

Enjoy the discounts!

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


5 Responses to “Agency Model ends for Random House, Penguin: new discounts”

  1. Harold Says:

    “it’s supposed to let you see a preview of the book cover when you hover over it” Nope, no preview here … I use Chrome running under Win8. I was never able to get the preview code working under WordPress either on my blog. Almost drove me insane … not that it would have been a long drive anyway.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by “code”, but when I hover my mouse pointer over the book titles above, all I get is the title changing to underlined (indicating an active link). I tried this on both Chrome 29, and IE 10 behavior identical — no book covers.

    I’m running Windows 8 if that matters.

  3. Random House Author Portal expands to Canada Says:

    […] Agency Model ends for Random House, Penguin: new discounts […]

  4. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I know you like numbers, so I thought you might appreciate thuis information. I had quite a few Random House and Penguin books in my “wish list” waiting for the agency model to end. So far, 20 of them have gone down in price. Two had originally been $14.99 and are now $11.99. Four had been $13.99 and now are priced at 5.99, 9.99, 10.99, and 11.84. Most of the previously $12.99 are between 7.99 and 9.99. Those that had been $11.99 now range from 7.98 to 9.99. The rest had been listed at $7.99 and are now at 5.99. Savings range from a low of 14% to a high of 57%.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      Fascinating! I really appreciate you posting that. 🙂

      I like numbers..and letters…and musical notes…and…

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