updated 10:10 pm EST, Tue February 2, 2010
Murdoch says Apple more flexible than Amazon
News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch today openly dismissed Amazon's e-book store in favor of Apple's in his company's fiscal results call on Tuesday. The executive, who also owns publisher HarperCollins, argued that the Kindle store's $10 or less pricing "devalues books" and punishes those selling hard copies. He instead favored Apple's deal with HarperCollins for iBooks and the iPad, which he hinted would allow a "variety of slightly higher prices" that could bend to reflect demands.
"We don’t like the Amazon model of selling everything at $9.99," Murdoch said. "They don’t pay us that. They pay us the full wholesale price of $14 or whatever we charge... we want some room to maneuver in it. There will be prices very much less than the printed copies of books but still will not be fixed in a way that Amazon has been doing it. [...] There will be prices very much less than the printed copies of books but still will not be fixed in a way that Amazon has been doing it."
He added that Amazon appeared willing to discuss new terms, though he didn't say if this was the direct result of the retailer's truce with Macmillan or part of a broader willingness to adjust its terms.
Apple is believed to be in an ongoing battle with Amazon to attract publishers to the iPad and in some cases away from the Kindle. Rumors suggest that Apple will charge between $13 and $15 for bestsellers and will take only a 30 percent cut, which while not ideal would provide more revenue to publishers and give them room to go lower for older books and promos.