New agency pricing model means some disruption and higher prices

by Ron on March 31, 2010

Five out of the six major publishers (see list below) recently declared that they are
moving to an Agency pricing model, which effectively cuts the discount rate
to retailers and distributors and severely limits our ability to offer
discounts, coupons and customer reward programs for any titles they publish.
For eBook customers, this means higher prices in general… or at least
fewer NYT bestsellers selling for $9.99 (which was always a loss-leader for
those retailers who offered new books at that price, the eBookPie eBook
store included).

The main catalyst for this change was two-fold – publishers’ collective
frustration with Amazon’s bullying tactics regarding prices and discounts,
and Apple’s entry into the ebook market that corresponds with their release
of the iPad. To jumpstart their own publisher signups Apple offered the
Agency Model to these publishers, and they have subsequently declared that
Amazon and all other distributors and retailers do the same.

What does this mean for eBookPie customers?

Unavailable Titles: Because this change was so sudden, our digital content distributor was caught off-guard and has not yet made the necessary adjustments to accommodate this transition. As a result, most ebook retailers, including eBookPie, will be temporarily unable to offer titles from these publishers as of April 1, 2010. No, unfortunately this is not an April Fool’s prank. Please be sure to read the important notice below.

How Long?: Our distributor is working viligantly with these publishers to accommodate the Agency Model, and our hope is we will be able to make these titles available to you again in the very near future.

Thousands of Titles Still Available: Until then, eBookPie will still have many thousands of ebooks available from some of your favorite authors and publishers, including Random House (the one “major” publisher who has so far resisted this change).

Promotions: With our new promotions capability, we will continue to offer specials on many of the titles available on our site. Sign up for our newsletter, join our Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter to get the latest and greatest discounts and promotions.

IMPORTANT: eBookPie customers who have previously purchased titles by these
publishers but have not yet downloaded them from their eBookPie account need
to do so by midnight tonight, March 31. (Of course this is a last-minute
notice, so if you do not receive this in time, let us know and we’ll help
you out).

Here is a list of the publishers now operating under the Agency Model (and a link to the page showing their imprints).


Simon & Schuster




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1 Jill Tomich March 31, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I have seen some responses to our blog post out there on Twitter. Shall we say a few of them indicate panic. So I’d like to try to make a few things a bit more clear.

The publishers listed in the blog, and our supplier for the ebooks they publish, have not yet come to agreement on how to handle the Agency pricing model the publishers are insisting on working with by April 1st. Because of this, our supplier must stop offering ebooks from those publishers until agreements are met, and systems at the supplier can be updated.

Does this affect all retailers?
It affects retailers, like Amazon, who refuse to work with the Agency pricing model. It also affects any retailer who works with an ebook supplier that hasn’t come to terms with the publisher.

For eBookPie customers, if you purchased an ebook from any of the publishers listed on our blog, and have already downloaded it to your computer and/or reading device, no worries. We are not going to try to reach through the internet lines and try and grab those ebooks back from you. They are yours to have and to hold forever.

However, if you have purchased an ebook from any of the publishers listed in the blog post, and have NOT yet downloaded it to your computer or reading device – go do it now! After midnight tonight, March 31st, our supplier will no longer provide us (and hence, you) access to those titles until they have sorted things out with those publishers.

And as of April 1st, ebooks from these publishers will not be available from eBookPie (and many other retailers). But…once our supplier sorts things out, we’ll ‘turn back on’ the access, and they will be available.

A couple of things to note:
1. We have many thousands of other titles available from great publishers like Random House and John Wiley & Sons. This change effects about 30% of our catalog.

2. The publishers didn’t give our supplier much notice of these new requirements, but they are working diligently to make things work.

Hope this helps a bit. If there are more questions, please let us know.

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