updated 06:35 pm EDT, Fri March 26, 2010
Apple puts book prices back in line
Apple may have dashed hopes of lower e-book prices after a second discovery of a price update in the pre-release iBookstore. Most of the top titles that had been listed at $10 now cost $13, or in line with the prices briefly glimpsed in Apple promo material. A handful of bestseller books, like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, still sit at the lower price.
It's not known if the change was made in reaction to the earlier AppAdvice leak or else just a firming up of final prices in preparation for next week.
The newly updated pricing would be more consistent with the widely known licensing terms Apple has pursued for the iBookstore. It has actively chosen an agency model which, while fluctuating the cost of actual book rights, is more likely to please major publishers that want more control over the final price. Macmillan's insistence on the model led to Amazon pricing concessions and may have triggered a ripple effect where majors and independents alike have called for agency pricing and price hikes.
Apple may be requiring equal terms for book royalties that would prevent Amazon from charging less and could lead to some publishers facing the prospect of dropping one bookstore to serve another.