Smashwords to Stand Firm on Agency Pricing

Much has happened this tumultuous day, with several massive lawsuits being filed and multiple settlements announced. So much has happened that we don’t know if we’re coming or going.

But the story isn’t over with. Two of the proponents of agency pricing, Random House and Smashwords, were completely untouched by the lawsuit. No one knows how RH plans to respond to the shift in the market, but Smashwords has resolved to continue with their policy, according to Mark Coker, the CEO of Smashwords.

He had already decided on a new policy several weeks ago, and he’d iterated it in a recent blog post. Here’s what he told me today:

We intend to vigorously defend agency as a superior pricing model that’s in the best long term interests of authors, readers, retailers and publishers.  As my data demonstrates, ebook prices are dropping.  If a publisher prices their book too high, let the marketplace punish that author.  Our 40,000 authors and publishers at Smashwords price their books just barely over $3.00, and they collectively publish nearly 15,000 ebooks priced at FREE.  Agency has been a godsend to our authors and publishers, and it forces our retailers to compete on customer experience rather than the depth of their balance sheets.