Publishers Use New eBook Pricing Leverage to Strongarm Google

It’s now become clear that the three weeks since Apple’s iPad unveiling have been among the most pivotal for the publishing world in terms of eBooks. Apple’s 70%/30% pricing promise, and the entrance of a compelling competitor into the device market, gave Macmillan and others the balls to challenge Amazon’s stranglehold on publishers (though oddly, Amazon has come to seem less like a bully and more like a kid being picked on), and its $9.99 price point for eBooks.

Since things between Amazon and Macmillan have settled down, according to The New York Times, negotiations with Google over Google Editions have been heating up, and publishers are using their new found power over Amazon to dictate the terms with Google. According to The Times, eBooks through Google Editions will, apparently, use the same 70%/30% split as Apple; there won’t be any cutting and pasting from those books; and publishers are likely to win the right to opt out of making their books searchable, which is, after all Google’s business.

All of this is seemingly great news for publishers–though there is indeed debate as to whether publishers will actually make more money using the agency model–and seemingly bad for readers, who will soon have to pay more money for the same product. Though maybe readers benefit by publishers just being able to stay in business. Either way, Apple kicked off some big, though unexpected, changes.