My disclaimer: This paper deals with speculation about agency pricing up to March 31, 2010. Someone next year can write about what actually happened from April 1 onward!
If it’s not one thing about the iPad (like the Modern Family iPad commercial episode), it’s another… and believe me, one of the most recent flurries of drama and speculation in the publishing world also traces right back to Apple. That would be, of course, the agency model for selling ebooks that many major publishers are switching over to as of April 1, 2010 (or in the days and weeks after). This represents a pretty radical, large-scale shift in the publishing industry, but it is unprecedented elsewhere as well: according to Michael Tamblyn, “this is the first time a media industry has raised the price on an existing format across all retail channels simultaneously.” Whether this new model is good or bad, successful or catastrophic, it’s going to happen and it’s going to happen soon. This paper will look at what implications this move could have on the publishing industry and its stakeholders, from retailers and publishers to authors and readers. (more…)