Just four days after Judge Denise Cote approved the settlement between the Department of Justice and Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, Amazon, the leading U.S. bookseller has begun to discount HarperCollins e-book titles.
Amazon has confirmed to PaidContent, which first reported the story, that it is indeed discounting HarperCollins e-books titles. The infamous “this price was set by the publisher” tag that accompanied all agency-price e-books on Amazon has been removed for HarperCollins titles.
HarperCollins titles are now also appearing in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL), Amazon’s answer to Netflix for e-books. The move is a significant add for Amazon, which is sure to make an announcement about it in the coming days.
UPDATE 3: A KOLL book was mistakenly reported by Digital Book World as HarperCollins when in fact it was not an HarperCollins book. There is no word yet as to whether HarperCollins titles will be included in the KOLL program. Read further on for earlier article updates.
A source familiar with the matter at Barnes & Noble, Amazon’s chief e-book rival, has told Digital Book World that B&N is in talks with all three settling publishers but does not yet have new contracts in place.
UPDATE: It looks as if Barnes & Noble does have an agreement in place with HarperCollins as we are seeing the publisher’s books discounted in the Nook store.
UPDATE 2: Sources at Barnes & Noble have reconfirmed that there aren’t yet contracts in place between it and HarperCollins.
HarperCollins has issued the following statement:
“HarperCollins has reached agreements with our e-retailers that are consistent with the final judgment. Dynamic pricing and experimentation will continue to be a priority for us as we move forward.”
As for “dynamic” It seems as if HarperCollins has elected to take an aggressive pricing approach to start. According to Publishers Lunch, some of its e-books are appearing on Kobo’s and Barnes & Noble’s bookstores at higher levels than they were under the old contracts.
PaidContent has a useful chart showing how some books are being discounted at various retailers.