Yesterday Macmillan CEO John Sargent opened a blog where he addressed eBook pricing directly. Under the publisher’s new agency model, he had these general prices for eBook editions: new hardcover releases will range between $14.99 and $12.99; hardcover New York Times bestseller-listed books will be $12.99 or below; and new paperbacks will range between $9.99 and $6.99.
When Dear Author editor Jane Litte asked about eBook pricing, the CEO wrote back personally: “Hi Jane. The high mass market pricing is a legacy of the old model. Under the agency model trade paperbacks will be $9.99 and lower. Mass markets will probably be at the price of the physical book or lower. We may do some experimenting on price here since digtal will be paperback format agnostic. Some books exsist in both formats…”
Nevertheless, it soon appeared that answering comments could become a full-time job for the CEO. As the responses to his posts climbed past fifty, Sargent typed: “Thanks for the comments. I’ll get back to you as time allows. I’ll also try to gather groups of questions that indicate I have not been clear enough and answer them in my next post.”
What do you think? Read more responses to the post after the jump.
Lee wrote: “I hope that backlist titles will be sold for significantly less than ‘new paperback’ ebook prices. I also hope that backlist titles will be brought into the ebook age, rather than ignored. I understand the issues with old contracts, expired or non-existent rights, etc. but I still hope to someday be able to pick up my net-connected reader and buy a science fiction or mystery title that was published in the mid-50â€™s that catches my eye.”
Sarcasmatron wrote: “You can chant ‘Your model is doomed’ until the heat-death of the universe. It just makes you look stupid. The model is evolving. Deal with it: it’s the price of being an early adopter of technology. If you don’t like it, go hang out at the library: the books are free there. This model is clearly the best way to go…for now.”
Finally, William Owen wrote: “If all you care about is only ever getting the lowest price, then yes, you can buy your books from Wal-mart. I care immensely about the wider implications of my spending, of the value of each dollar spent as it relates to the communities I am a part of, of how my dollars contribute to the environments around me. I do not set foot in wal-mart, I do not buy books from amazon. If Indiebound or someone else can find a way to make digital publishing viable and usable for indie bookstores, I will be ecstatic.