updated 08:20 pm EST, Mon January 18, 2010
Harper would set prices at Apple store
Publisher HarperCollins is negotiating e-books for Apple's upcoming tablet, a late Wednesday rumor says. Referring to its typical "people familiar with the matter," the WSJ provides few details but does say HarperCollins would set the base prices while Apple would take a cut of sales. Many of the terms are believed in flux even just days before Apple's announced January 27th event.
Other publishers have also been in talks, the tipsters say, corroborating multiple past rumors that Apple is negotiating book deals as part of a more comprehensive strategy to position a tablet as a rival to the Kindle, Nook and others.
For HarperCollins, an Apple deal is understood to be part of an attempt to justify higher prices for e-books. Amazon's Kindle store often sells bestsellers for $10, or well under the price of a typical paper copy. Adding Internet and video components to these could prop up the prices and keep them at $15 or $20.
Licensing is also rumored to be a concern. Amazon hasn't publicly disclosed its Kindle deals but may take as much as 50 percent of the revenue from books that aren't exclusives, 'punishing' publishers for wanting to sell books through other outlets.