Looks Like Apple’s E-Book Prices Won’t Be So High

We reported earlier that Steve Jobs actually admitted on iPad-unveiling day that Apple’s eBook pricing would not be so different from Amazon’s, despite publishers hopes. Yesterday, Motoko Rich of the New York Times offered some details about Apple’s contracts with publishers.

Here’s more from the article:

…according to at least three people with knowledge of the discussions, who spoke anonymously because of the confidentiality of the talks, Apple inserted provisions requiring publishers to discount eBook prices on best sellers–so that $12.99-to-$14.99 range was merely a ceiling; prices for some titles could be lower, even as low as Amazon’s $9.99. Essentially, Apple wants the flexibility to offer lower prices for the hottest books, those on one of the New York Times best-seller lists, which are heavily discounted in bookstores and on rival retail sites. So, for example, a book that started at $14.99 would drop to $12.99 or less once it hit the best-seller lists.

Moreover, for books where publishers offer comparable hardcover editions at a price below the typical $26, Apple wanted e-book prices to reflect the cheaper hardcover prices. These books might be priced much lower than $12.99, even if they did not hit the best-seller list.

Looks like Apple won’t be saving eBook pricing from the scourge of $9.99 after all. Though why would consumers suddenly be willing to pay more for the same thing anyway?