Simon & Schuster has signed a new ebook retail agreement with Amazon and other ebook retailers.
Ebook prices were lowered for Simon & Schuster titles over the weekend on sites like Amazon and Nook.com to levels several dollars below what they had been earlier in the week. Amazon is no longer displaying its usual disclaimer for agency-priced ebooks, “this price was set by the publisher,” for Simon & Schuster titles.
“We have entered new agreements with our ebook agents that are in compliance with DOJ settlement and we look forward to working with our retailers to expand the readership for our authors and grow the ebook marketplace,” said Adam Rothberg, senior vice president of corporate communications for Simon & Schuster.
Prices on several Simon & Schuster ebooks were dropped on Friday and Saturday. Shadow’s Claim (Immortals After Dark: the Dacians) by Kresley Cole was priced at $7.99 at Amazon on Thursday, lowered to $7.59 on Friday and then to $6.99 on Saturday. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton was $12.99 on Amazon on Friday and then lowered to $9.99 on Saturday*.
Simon & Schuster is the third out of three major publishers that settled an ebook price-fixing case with the Department of Justice to fulfill its legal obligation to sign new contracts with ebook retailers. The settlement ended a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department alleging that the publishers and Apple colluded to fix the prices of ebooks when they established an agency pricing model when the iPad and iBooks was launched. Earlier in Dec., Hachette put in place new agreements with retailers and in early Sept., HarperCollins became the first of the three to ink a new deal with Amazon and the others. Apple, Penguin and Macmillan — the other three defendants named in the lawsuit — declined to settle and are going to trial this summer.
It remains to be seen whether giving retailers pricing control will result in more ebook units sold. An earlier analysis of pricing and sales rank data for HarperCollins titles suggest that for certain books, price drops don’t result in enough of a unit sales increase to be justified from a revenue standpoint.
* Daily pricing data provided by eBook Market View, which also supplies the data for the Digital Book World Ebook Best-Seller List.