During media megaconglomorate News Corp's earnings call - which owns publisher HarperCollins - the Dark Lord Rupert Murdoch reveals, "We don't like the Amazon model of $US9.99… we think it really devalues books and hurts all the retailers of hardcover books." Ruh roh.
And here's the deathblow: Murdoch says News Corp's deal with Apple "does allow some flexibility and higher prices" and now Amazon's willing to renegotiate.
It seems brutally clear that every publisher is going to shift to the agency model: They set their own price for books, and whoever's selling it takes a cut. Sure, they get less absolute dollars per book than selling it wholesale - say, selling it to Amazon for $US15, who takes a $US5 hit to sell it for $US9.99 - but they're convinced it'll preserve the value of books. I'm sure that's exactly what's going to happen when ebook prices everywhere creep up by several dollars - people will totally think they're worth more. [MediaMemo]