Amazon Cuts Penguin Hardcovers To $9.99 In Fight Over E-book Pricing

If you want to read recent Penguin releases like Roger Lowenstein’s “The End of Wall Street” on your Kindle, you may have to wait a while, since Amazon and Penguin are still fighting over pricing. If you’re willing to buy the hardbound version, though, Amazon has a deal for you: To pressure Penguin, Amazon is pricing recent Penguin releases at a very Kindle-esque $9.99.

How do lower prices hurt Penguin? As The Wall Street Journal explains:

Since Amazon can’t sell the digital editions of Penguin’s books, it is, in effect, showing its customers that Amazon is still the place to go for discount pricing. The low price also serves to put pressure on Penguin, as publishers passionately dislike the steep discounts. Many publishers say a $9.99 price tag on a new hardcover book cheapens the value in the minds of consumers.

The battle between Amazon and Penguin is a sequel to Amazon’s failed attempt to keep Macmillan e-books at $9.99. That fight ended with Amazon agreeing to an “agency” model, in which Macmillan’s e-books would be priced at $15. Other publishers have followed suit, and many Kindle books are now priced well above Amazon’s recommended $9.99 level. Penguin, however, has yet to cut a deal with Amazon.

Although Amazon is able to use some pricing leverage to bring Penguin to the bargaining table, the publisher is not without tools to put pressure on Amazon: Penguin’s e-books are available for other platforms, including the Barnes & Noble Nook, and Apple iPad. The Lowenstein book is available for download from B&N at $12.99; the store’s price for the hardcover is $15.37

Amazon.com Cuts Prices on Penguin Hardcovers in E-Book Tiff [WSJ.com]

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