HarperCollins Signs Amazon Deal, Widens Global Reach

HarperCollins Amazon agency ebook pricingResolving the apparent impasse where HarperCollins and Amazon found themselves earlier this month, the two parties sign a multi-year print and digital distribution contract.

Officially, that’s the whole story. Neither HarperCollins nor Amazon have so far confirmed whether the deal rests on terms similar to those three other Big Five publishers have agreed to, which HarperCollins was reportedly resisting just weeks ago.

However, the publisher did alert its distribution partners last week that it would be setting prices for its own ebooks starting yesterday, leading many to determine that the Amazon deal restores agency ebook pricing there, too.

Separately, HarperCollins announces four new divisions in Europe and Japan, in line with its stated intention of pursuing further global expansion.


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The ‘Everything Store’ Adding More Things Fast (TheStreet)
Amazon is swiftly increasing its already formidable inventory, according to new research. Customers now have more than 300 million products to choose from, a figure that’s up 32% in the first quarter of 2015 over the same period last year.

Open Road Adds to Fiction Catalog (PW)
The ebook publisher acquires the back-list of the British novelist Alan Sillitoe, plus one of the author’s unpublished works. Open Road will begin releasing those titles in spring 2016.

Cannibalization Fears Still Haunt Subscription Ebooks (Futurebook)
One likely reason Penguin Random House and Hachette still haven’t tested out the subscription ebook market, despite joining Oyster’s ebookstore earlier this month, is the concern that the model will eat into a la carte sales. Here’s a survey the latest counter-arguments put forth by subscription services and their advocates who say those programs create new markets that don’t threaten existing ones.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Renews with Libre Digital (DBW)
The publisher’s trade division renews its contract with RR Donnelley’s ebook services provider LibreDigital, whose cloud-base asset management and distribution platform, called Harvest, will power Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for several years more.

Android Still Top Mobile Platform in U.S. (Teleread)
The latest data on the mobile subscriber market in the U.S. finds Android still captures the majority, with just under 53% market share compared with Apple’s nearly 42%. A separate study recently estimated smartphone ownership among American adults is now at 64%.
Related: What the Apple-Android Race Means for Publishers

Prizing the Human Element in a Digital World (Pub Perspectives)
Several authors and writers criticize digital formats for a number of features, among them that “too much engagement is distraction” and that digital enhancements too often detract from the primacy of an author’s narrative craft.
Related: Authors Getting Edged out of Picture Book Apps

Nonfiction Deals Grow (Pub Lunch)
The volume of deals for nonfiction titles is up considerably at London Book Fair over last year, even though fiction and children’s dealmaking is down. The percentage of six-figure transactions has also risen since last year. Publishers Lunch has a wealth of charts and figures on the latest activity.

Three (Surmountable) Barriers to Ebooks in Brazil (PW)
Major ebook retailers all opened their doors in Brazil a little more two years ago, paving the way for an initial wave of growth. Last year digital sales in the country slowed and currently stand at just 3.5% of the market. But one expert says the potential for ebooks remains considerable, as long as publishers and distributors can clear a few key hurdles.
Related: The Global Content Imperative


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