Macmillan CEO Explains New eBook Policies

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Hooray for corporate transparency! Macmillan CEO John Sargent did something unusual today: he posted a short piece on the company blog explaining the company’s new policies on eBooks, in terms of the agency model and pricing.

Here’s an excerpt: “In the ink-on-paper world we publish new books in different formats (hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback) at prices that generally range from $35.00 to $5.99. In the digital world we will price each book individually as we do today. Generally e-book editions of hardcover new releases will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99; a few books will be priced higher and lower. This is a tremendous discount from the price of the printed hardcover books, which generally range from $28.00 to $24.00. E-book editions of New York Times hardcover bestsellers will be priced at $12.99 or lower while they are on the printed list. E-book editions of paperback new releases will be generally priced between $9.99 and $6.99.”

Other interesting details include the fact that Macmillan eBooks will, henceforward, always be released at the same time as the hardcover, so no windowing; many older books will still be priced and $9.99 or lower; and, when print books come out in paperback, the price of the eBook will also drop, which, while a little annoying, seems a reasonably fair compromise between what publishers seem to want and what readers want.