In the deal that Amazon and Hachette Book Group finally reached Thursday after months of bitter negotiations, we don’t really know which side “won,” if one side did. But one survivor — perhaps surprisingly — was agency pricing for ebooks, the practice through which the publisher sets an ebook’s price and the retailer takes a commission.
Hachette said in a letter to authors and agents Thursday:
The new agreement delivers considerable benefits. It gives us full responsibility for the consumer prices of our ebooks. This approach, known as the Agency model, protects the value of our authors’ content, while allowing the publisher to change ebook prices dynamically to maximize sales.
That wasn’t a foregone conclusion. In 2010, [company]Amazon[/company] was vehemently opposed to agency pricing, though it ultimately capitulated. Agency pricing was at the heart of the of the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Apple and book publishers in 2012, in which…
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