News

OFT launches investigation into agency pricing

The Office of Fair Trading has launched an investigation into agency pricing, following a "significant" number of complaints.

The OFT said the investigation is "into whether arrangements that certain publishers have put in place with some retailers for the sale of e-books may breach competition rules".

However, it added: "The investigation is at an early stage and it should not be assumed that the parties involved have breached competition law."

If the parties involved were to be found in breach of competition riles, they could face a fine or a commitment of action in lieu of a fine. However, an OFT spokesperson refused to comment on whether it would have the power to halt the agency model.

It is unclear so far who made the complaint, despite several vocal opponents to the model. Amazon.co.uk previously said the agency model "was a damaging approach for readers, authors, booksellers and publishers alike." In a letter posted on its Kindle forum in October 2010, Amazon said: "In the UK, we will continue to fight against higher prices for e-books, and have been urging publishers considering agency not to needlessly impose prices increases on consumers."

The model, which allows publishers to set their own prices for e-books rather than a retailer, was first implemented in the UK by Hachette in September, with HarperCollins and  Penguin following suit in November. Simon & Schuster also made the switch at the end of the year. Macmillan and Canongate have yet to implement agency pricing in the UK, despite signing up to the model. Publishers signed up to agency in order to trade with Apple through its iBookstore.

The last major enquiry into the book trade was when Bertrams was bought by EUK, owned by Woolworths, in February 2007, effectively merging EUK and Bertrams. The merger was referred to the Competition Commission. The enquiry took eight months, with the Competition Commission finding the merger would not be "a substantial lessening of competion" in September 2007.

The OFT's team leader on this investigation will be Andrew Groves, with the project to be directed by Claudia Berg.

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The OFT might want to consider this angle too:

Are Publishers Liable For Lost eBooks If Borders Dissolves?
http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/are-publishers-liable-for-lost...

And so should publisher attorneys!

We, the readers, have complained. We are the vocal opponents!

The agency model isn't the problem here- and in itself it's a good idea, which works well for independents. The elephant in the room is the greedy publishers who are blackmailing book retailers with the threat of removal of sales rights.

I would urge any authors to have a long hard think about just what their publisher is doing for them for their cut, particularly in the context of an eBook publication.

Neil.

Hi Mike,

Nice article, but I can't help noticing that the illustrations miss someone rather vital- the author!

Neil.

This was always going to happen . This is the E-NBA, and the NBA was a publishers restriction as well. This Agency Pricing Scheme is in the publisher's interest and not the consumers'. As I have said from the start the market in it's various forms will not stand for this .

Neil said: "The agency model isn't the problem here- and in itself it's a good idea, which works well for independents. The elephant in the room is the greedy publishers who are blackmailing book retailers with the threat of removal of sales rights."

Yes, but it's worse than that, Large Publishers operate with large distributors, yes there are economy of scale arguments, however, the bottom line is choice, quality, innovation and creativity are pushed out.

Booksellers are ever more reluctant to purchase directly from Publishers even when discounts are large, it's partly lazyness and extended credit lines which can back them into a corner.

We've tried hard to support Independent Booksellers, it's the large distributors that are the choke on the system.

Sadly, although we love high street bookshops we can only see the shop trade declining as Publishers like us are forced to move into other channels, in effect, cutting the distributors and booksellers out of the loop.

We can't see consumers going all the way to a bookshop to buy an ebook they can more easily preview at home.

It seems the Agency issue is not long for this world.

Can't help thinking that if the retailers bought the content from the publishers at a set price, say £3 per copy per title on a £7.99 book - ie, less than half-price, instead of insisting on taking a huge percentage of the sale price and also setting that price themselves, the retailers could charge whatever they fancied. Instead, they are claiming the moral high ground and pretending they have the customers' best interests at heart. Anyone who believes the retailers are standing up for the customers rather than themselves should have their heads examined.

Publishers need to stand up and say sorry, none of us are offering massive discounts to retailers any more, and have the OFT examine the fairness of having Amazon, Tesco etc insisting on such massive discounts. Instead, they have shot themselves in the foot by getting involved in a ridiculous emotive struggle over e-book pricing.

I am one of the many readers of ebooks who complained to the OFT. Some of the mainstream publishers of tree books seem to be attempting to stifle the ebook market because they know that their role will be considerably diminished with ebooks. The Agency Model, where they can and do charge more than twice the hardback price for some ebooks is just one example. They also riddle their ebooks with spelling mistakes and formatting errors which don't exist in the tree book and don't include photos where they exist in the tree version (or when they do, they are often too small to even read the captions),
All they are actually doing is pushing people towards the pirates, and that has the potential to kill all publishing. The English don't like being ripped off.

Anonymous, you are just advocating another set of rules to fix the market with a £3 max price . Rather Soviet in style . Let the market vote with its consumer pound it will bring the consumer cost down as it has for printed books . Publishers have been in a strategic mess on E books from the start , affording at one stage massive royalty % on digital sales. Get a grip or the punter will do it for you .

'Tree' books? Spare us the obnoxious neologisms, I beg you.

JLC objects to "tree books"? It's a lot shorter to write than "paperbacks and hardbacks" and is perfectly clear what is meant. "ebooks" is in common use, should people say "electronic books" instead?

How about 'books'? Everyone here will know what it is you're talking about, I wager.

"Books" includes electronic books. You can't compare electronic books with something that includes electronic books, that's silly.

'Books' and 'ebooks' has served everyone pretty well thus far.

We, the readers, like the terms 'tree books' and 'ebooks' to differentiate between the two. What would you publishers like to do? Make an Agency Law that forbids us using 'tree books?

We are supposedly in a 'free market' and companies know that they can't 'fix' prices and just expect that people will pay. We won't! Has any publisher tried to see how many sales are lost because where we find 'price fixed by the publisher' we don't buy.

It is not our fault that publishers shoved their heads in the sand and hoped ebooks would not take off. It has been coming for years and they are now hopping from one foot to the other trying to find a way to stifle competitive pricing.

And if there is anything that is fueling piracy it is prices of the top authors books. At this very moment there are 18 John Grisham ebooks on a cd available on Amazon for £6. Will I buy them? No. They are illegal. But someone will......

High ebook prices is a huge mistake, but do not (only) blame the Large and Evil Publishers.
Both authors and their agents are imposing in the contracts not only the maximum discounts publishers can offer off the prevailing printed edition, but also that if royalties derived from ebooks are lower than those of the printed edition, the ebook has to be removed from the catalogue.

'We, the readers'! Have you any idea how ridiculous you sound? You speak for the readers of the world, do you? Jog on.

>> the mainstream publishers of tree books seem to be attempting to stifle the ebook market

Why would they be? They're still the publishers of the books regardless of the format, a sale is a sale and money is money.

I really don't understand this constant assertion people (mostly Kindle users expecting every book to cost a max of £3) keep making.

By JLC's Left Plum. So who are you? You haven't actually said anything. Apart from attack those of us who are obviously not publishers, just the poor punters.

So come on, who are you?

"Everyone here will know what it is you're talking about, I wager." So are you in the book publishing business and believe that only others in the business should read this site? Climb down off your high horse. I'm not in the book industry but claim the right to free speech on here.

The OFT might want to consider this angle too:

Are Publishers Liable For Lost eBooks If Borders Dissolves?
http://mikecanex.wordpress.com/2011/02/01/are-publishers-liable-for-lost...

And so should publisher attorneys!

Hi Mike,

Nice article, but I can't help noticing that the illustrations miss someone rather vital- the author!

Neil.

@Neil,

You are suggesting that readers should have legal recourse to sue authors if the agent disappears?

We, the readers, have complained. We are the vocal opponents!

The agency model isn't the problem here- and in itself it's a good idea, which works well for independents. The elephant in the room is the greedy publishers who are blackmailing book retailers with the threat of removal of sales rights.

I would urge any authors to have a long hard think about just what their publisher is doing for them for their cut, particularly in the context of an eBook publication.

Neil.

This was always going to happen . This is the E-NBA, and the NBA was a publishers restriction as well. This Agency Pricing Scheme is in the publisher's interest and not the consumers'. As I have said from the start the market in it's various forms will not stand for this .

Neil said: "The agency model isn't the problem here- and in itself it's a good idea, which works well for independents. The elephant in the room is the greedy publishers who are blackmailing book retailers with the threat of removal of sales rights."

Yes, but it's worse than that, Large Publishers operate with large distributors, yes there are economy of scale arguments, however, the bottom line is choice, quality, innovation and creativity are pushed out.

Booksellers are ever more reluctant to purchase directly from Publishers even when discounts are large, it's partly lazyness and extended credit lines which can back them into a corner.

We've tried hard to support Independent Booksellers, it's the large distributors that are the choke on the system.

Sadly, although we love high street bookshops we can only see the shop trade declining as Publishers like us are forced to move into other channels, in effect, cutting the distributors and booksellers out of the loop.

We can't see consumers going all the way to a bookshop to buy an ebook they can more easily preview at home.

It seems the Agency issue is not long for this world.

Can't help thinking that if the retailers bought the content from the publishers at a set price, say £3 per copy per title on a £7.99 book - ie, less than half-price, instead of insisting on taking a huge percentage of the sale price and also setting that price themselves, the retailers could charge whatever they fancied. Instead, they are claiming the moral high ground and pretending they have the customers' best interests at heart. Anyone who believes the retailers are standing up for the customers rather than themselves should have their heads examined.

Publishers need to stand up and say sorry, none of us are offering massive discounts to retailers any more, and have the OFT examine the fairness of having Amazon, Tesco etc insisting on such massive discounts. Instead, they have shot themselves in the foot by getting involved in a ridiculous emotive struggle over e-book pricing.

I am one of the many readers of ebooks who complained to the OFT. Some of the mainstream publishers of tree books seem to be attempting to stifle the ebook market because they know that their role will be considerably diminished with ebooks. The Agency Model, where they can and do charge more than twice the hardback price for some ebooks is just one example. They also riddle their ebooks with spelling mistakes and formatting errors which don't exist in the tree book and don't include photos where they exist in the tree version (or when they do, they are often too small to even read the captions),
All they are actually doing is pushing people towards the pirates, and that has the potential to kill all publishing. The English don't like being ripped off.

'Tree' books? Spare us the obnoxious neologisms, I beg you.

Why don't you answer the question rather than deflect with irrelevant pleading? The points made are valid for customers, why are we paying more for something that is cheaper to produce and distribute than their Paper-based alternatives? If you have an explanation to this then great, I am sure we would love to hear it.

>> the mainstream publishers of tree books seem to be attempting to stifle the ebook market

Why would they be? They're still the publishers of the books regardless of the format, a sale is a sale and money is money.

I really don't understand this constant assertion people (mostly Kindle users expecting every book to cost a max of £3) keep making.

a) Ebooks cost virtually nothing to produce when you have the electronic version and so would be in competition with small or self-publishers who don't have the overheads of producing tree books.
b) They believe that the sale of ebooks will mean reduction in their sales of tree books.
c) They are probably scared of technology they don't understand.
d) They dislike change.
Kindle users do not expect every book to cost a max of £3 - only EBOOKS.
An electronic copy of a manuscript is produced at an early stage in publishing. The "value" or cost is added later with the printing and distribution. Why should we pay the same price as a hardback or paperback when the expensive bit wasn't incurred in producing the ebook?

I forgot e) - Publishers often don't hold the DIGITAL rights for books.

Have you ever produced an e-book? I assume you must have to state that they cost virtually nothing to produce. You think the e-book is just an electronic version of the ms? Roffle. You don't think e-books have to be distributed? The "expensive bit" is the overhead incurred in acquiring, editing, marketing the book, whether a book or an ebook. Or don't you think those costs should be recovered when selling an e-book?
Plus there is VAT on e-books.

The vat element is a completely different problem.

So you already have the book in hardback, paperback,audiobook, it's been edited and marketed years ago. So what does it then cost to release an ebook from that original?

I've converted several pages of text to ,mobi format without any issues. I have problems converting tables but then the format can't handle those properly (yet), tables are rare in novels, tables can quickly be converted to pictures - which do display - and it is still early days. Conversion of Word, PDF, HTML etc. documents (and books) can be done free using mobi-creator, Calibre or Amazon's KDP.

Lets look at ebook publishing the Kindle way:

Acquiring: The author signs an agreement with Amazon to receive 35% or 70% less certain costs. He then uses Amazon's KDP to send the converted book to Amazon.

Editing: The author checks for formatting problems. These tend to be where a paragraph break has been inserted at the end of a line. This is not noticed until the text is resized and the line "breaks" in a different position. Page numbers should be removed as the Kindle automatically provides the more precise "Locations".

Proofreading: The author can do this him / herself (if proud of the book they would certainly do this). They can get friends and family to read it and note comments or they can give a few copies away to readers in return for notes on typos etc. (these are REALLY easy to create on the Kindle). Or they can employ a professional proofreader.

Distribution. Amazon advertise it on their web site. There are samples of the start of the book free to download. The reader selects and pays with One-Click and Amazon uploads the book to thev reader. All automatic.

Marketing.On Amazon's Kindle Store and other sites.
Authors can and do sell the book in Mobi format on other sites.

I admit that ebook publishing is still in its infancy - but it is electronic. This means advances will provide extra value for little extra cost.

Anonymous, you are just advocating another set of rules to fix the market with a £3 max price . Rather Soviet in style . Let the market vote with its consumer pound it will bring the consumer cost down as it has for printed books . Publishers have been in a strategic mess on E books from the start , affording at one stage massive royalty % on digital sales. Get a grip or the punter will do it for you .

JLC objects to "tree books"? It's a lot shorter to write than "paperbacks and hardbacks" and is perfectly clear what is meant. "ebooks" is in common use, should people say "electronic books" instead?

How about 'books'? Everyone here will know what it is you're talking about, I wager.

"Books" includes electronic books. You can't compare electronic books with something that includes electronic books, that's silly.

'Books' and 'ebooks' has served everyone pretty well thus far.

We, the readers, like the terms 'tree books' and 'ebooks' to differentiate between the two. What would you publishers like to do? Make an Agency Law that forbids us using 'tree books?

We are supposedly in a 'free market' and companies know that they can't 'fix' prices and just expect that people will pay. We won't! Has any publisher tried to see how many sales are lost because where we find 'price fixed by the publisher' we don't buy.

It is not our fault that publishers shoved their heads in the sand and hoped ebooks would not take off. It has been coming for years and they are now hopping from one foot to the other trying to find a way to stifle competitive pricing.

And if there is anything that is fueling piracy it is prices of the top authors books. At this very moment there are 18 John Grisham ebooks on a cd available on Amazon for £6. Will I buy them? No. They are illegal. But someone will......

'We, the readers'! Have you any idea how ridiculous you sound? You speak for the readers of the world, do you? Jog on.

By JLC's Left Plum. So who are you? You haven't actually said anything. Apart from attack those of us who are obviously not publishers, just the poor punters.

So come on, who are you?

Yes I try to make a living from books, God knows it's hard enough these days. That would be my reason for reading the trade press of the industry. What's your reason, except to spit ill-informed, misdirected bile under multiple pseudonyms? Tedious manuscript rejected by every house in the country was it?

'We, the readers' indeed!

I would like to read your manuscript. I trust it's better than the sort of sarcastic comments you have put on here.

I am an ordinary reader of books, ebooks, newspapers and yes, this website and others. I have an ereader. I want to know what is happening in the publishing industry because of this Agency Model keeping prices of ebooks higher than paperbacks or hardbacks in some cases. Yes, I complained to the OFT.
I have never written a book, don't intend to.

And I don't spit bile, and I don't have multiple pseudonyms.

I would like to know how much it costs to produce an ebook especially one that is already in print? Don't expect that will be forthcoming?

That's the point isn't it? You're an 'ordinary reader' and you have little or no idea how publishing actually works. You think it's lucrative? It's an industry that's struggling for survival, full of badly-paid people hanging on out of enthusiasm. And all that we read on newspaper comment threads is people who know nothing crowing about how much better books would be without publishers. Of course there is a mark-up on books and ebooks; publishing is a BUSINESS and has to make money or it will go bust. And then all you'll have left is a sea of self-published crap, and it'll serve you right.

By the way, it's obvious that you are commenting under multiple pseudonyms. 'Anonymous' and 'Andy J' are clearly the same person.

Believe me, Andy J and I are not the same peron, but we are both from the same side, the consumers!
Yes, I am an 'ordinary reader', a member of the public who reads books sold be booksellers. And that is the point of why I am on this website looking at the things that are going on in the publishing/bookselling world trying to understand why we should have to pay more for an ebook than a 'tree' book. And, to be honest, nothing I have read to date gives me any explanations as to why that should be so.

I have never mentioned getting rid of publishers, and I don't know if it's lucrative or not and I appreciate that there is a mark up on any product BUT

someone tell me why if a paperback is £4.00 why is an ebook £5.00, same book, same author?

Newer Technology... You pay more for a Blueray than you do for Video. :-D

How is that relevant? Computer technology is not new, some ebooks are being sold as .pdfs that's not new,the books are already on computers in the publishers. And if that were the case why aren't all ebooks dearer? Don't accept that at all as an argument.

It's not yours to accept - if you don't like it, don't buy it, or go ahead and steal it. If enough people aren't buying it the price will go down. Clearly enough people do value a book for it's content rather than the format it comes on or prices would already be lower.

By N <>

Isn't that just the point? The price can't go down if the publisher won't let it?

Why should/would they let it?!?!? People are buying at the current price - what business deliberately cuts the cost of their product when it's selling well? Particularly if it's in direct competition with it's main earner - in this case Paper books.

By N, People are not buying ebooks that are dearer than tree books, they are voting with their wallets.

And no-one has yet come on here to say why an ebook should be more expensive than a paperback.

i am very willing to hear why it should be so but no-one comes up with the information.

They have, many times. You just don't want to hear it. It is a combination of:
1) The fact that, contrary to what the layman might think, the majority of a book's unit cost is overhead.
2) The levying of VAT on ebooks by the government.
3) The costs associated with newer technology (blu-ray/DVD comparion)
4) The need to make some sort of profit, as in any business.

"1) The fact that, contrary to what the layman might think, the majority of a book's unit cost is overhead."
-YES! but that is for BOOKS. We're talking about ebooks where that simply is not true. As I've said before, you appear to know nothing about publishing ebooks.
"2) The levying of VAT on ebooks by the government."
- The Luxembourg government levies the VAT (15%) on Amazon's ebooks.
"3) The costs associated with newer technology (blu-ray/DVD comparion)"
- Ebooks are OLD technology - it id the Ereaders which are new technology.
4) The need to make some sort of profit, as in any business.
- If AUTHORS can make royalties of 70% on a £3 ebook on Amazon, why would they settle for 10% of a £10 ebook?

1) You're missing the point again. Overheads include aquisition, marketing and editorial costs. This is substantial investment, and publishers are entitled to seek a return on this investment. To put it another way, they will charge what they think they can get away with, just like whoever made the clothes you're wearing, the chair you're sitting in and the computer you're using.
2) That's right, because Amazon pays tax in Luxembourg. So... VAT increases the cost of ebooks. That's settled.
3) Establishing a system for digitising and distributing ebooks where one did not previously exist is what one might call an extraordinary cost. It's inevitable that some of that cost is passed on. What, do you think it's just a case of taking the print-ready PDF and letting people have that? That really would be crazy.
4) That's not a reason for publishers not to try and make a profit, but you're right. If they want to go it alone then there's nothing stopping them. Don't see a lot of self-published £3 ebooks in the Amazon top 100 though.

*acquisition

Overheads include aquisition, marketing and editorial costs are substantial. Yes, I accept that. And yes, I accept that they are in business to make money.
But if they already have that book out in the marketplace, the actual digital production of an ebook, after the inital system set up must be very small per ebook. And of course, once they have that book set up, there is no stock to hold in warehouses, no vehicle delivery costs etc.

Plus the fact that by charging more for an ebook against a tree book the consumer gets less for their money. They can't sell it on, can't give it away to charity, can't lend it.

I don't want to lose the real books, I love books, but I will not pay more than a paperback price for an ebook.

I certainly agree that they shouldn't cost more; I think that where this is occurring it is an anomaly that will soon be corrected. However I'm not sure that people are entitled to expect that they cost less than (say) four pounds or so. Ultimately the market will dictate either way, but for new ebooks to go for 70 pence would be a disaster.

Actually, to produce an e-book from an old book, you need to recode the whole digital file to turn it into a e-Pub file that resizes to fit different screens, adding coding to make the e-readers recognise the difference between a new line and a new paragraph, and you need to test it to ensure that it works across all formats. This is not the case for PDFs, but that's not really a proper e-book and is less convenient to read. Books typeset in older versions of InDesign and Quark may have to be redone in newer versions that allow for e-book coding, as the older versions of the files don't have that capacity. This is time-consuming and it is an extra cost. It is also an extra cost to upgrade the software.

I would take issue with the proofreading comments as well. Most publishers work hard to ensure the books are properly proofread, and I have yet to observe a single perfectly proofread manuscript coming our way. If authors are so great at proofreading their work, why do publishers have to employ proofreaders at all? It's certainly not because they are doing so well they can afford to waste the money.

You say you don't want to lose books and you love books, but you're not showing much evidence of that. The price of everything else may rise, but you won't pay slightly more for a book? You'll be forced to pay more for clothes, food, electricity - the list goes on. Books are ridiculously cheap compared to most forms of entertainment; cinema tickets have gone through the roof compared to even 5 years ago and you don't get to watch the film again afterwards for free, it now costs twice as much to go clubbing than it used to, leisure centres have raised their prices - yet the price of books has actually dropped. If you don't want to pay for decently selected, edited books with beautiful cover design and decent typography, feel free to read the free stuff that self-publishing people are producing. At least with a published book, you have a guarantee that someone other than the author's mother thought it was worth reading.

If that is true for e-Pub then publishers are being ripped off! The Kindle handles resizing of all kinds of documents. To convert to .mobi which is the non-DRM'd version of Amazons proprietory .azw format all you need is to use Mobi-Creator, Calibre or e-mail your document to your kindle. Conversion takes seconds and is automatic. You need to put "convert" in the title for PDF's otherwise it will transfer PDFs without cnversion. If any change to new line or new paragraph (if required, but I doubt) is done by the conversion program.

Authors leave proofreading to their Publishers because that is what publishers are paid for. My experience with both tree books and ebooks suggests that publishers no longer employ proofreaders.
Books generally are now as expensive as DVDs and CDs. "Decently selected"? You mean selected solely on the criterion of what the public is most likely to buy? That's lowest common denominator publishing. "Beutiful cover design"? On electronic paper? LOL. Decent typography? You are restricted to whatever fonts the eReader provides - nothing to do with publishing.
I don't find a guarantee that an author's mother and half-a-dozen others like a book to be much of a guarantee either.

Your lack of understanding of epublishing is astounding!
You say "Don't see a lot of self-published £3 ebooks in the Amazon top 100 though." OK, so they tend to be a lot less. I don't see many self-published books in W. H. Smiths or Waterstones - what's your point? So indies are happy to accept around what they would get as new authors with traditional publishers and pricer at less than £1. I make it only 7 books over £5 in the kindle top 100 - doesn't that tell you something?

OK, so they tend to be a lot less. I don't see many self-published books in W. H. Smiths or Waterstones - what's your point?
That shops try not to stock what people don't want to buy.
'So indies are happy to accept around what they would get as new authors with traditional publishers and pricer at less than £1.'
That is easily the worst sentence I have read all day, and I can't make head or tail of it.
'I make it only 7 books over £5 in the kindle top 100 - doesn't that tell you something?'
That... people like cheap stuff? That top 100 is by quantity, not value. Amazon sells more ebooks than it does hardbacks, but which do think brings in more cash?

I was responding to your statement that you don't see many at £3 there - what was your point?
OK so you can't accept a single typo? Should have been "priced" not "pricer". If you can't understand that sentence you would really struggle with the average hardback.
As Amazon gets 30%-65% of the price of an ebook I'd think ebooks bring in more cash. You simply do not understand ebook publishing do you?

Just like the printers at Wapping you try to stand in the way of progress. Well, it doesn't work. If you are as badly paid as you claim, get another job, although I doubt that your attitude will get you far. You can embrace change or go bust. That simple. It is obvious that YOU know absolutely nothing about ebook publishing. Much of the "self-published crap" is considerably better than some of the crap publishers have deemed fit for public consumption. By being able to sample ebooks the reader is able to decide for himself the quaslity of a book before buying. He / she does not have to rely on reviews written by people paid by the publishing industry. I've just received updates from Amazon correcting typos and formatting errors in 2 books which I downloaded and haven't got around to reading yet. If the book has serious typing issues Amazon will make a refund. Match that. If publishers want to stay in business they need to compete. One way is to give away the ebook with the tree book. Face it, once you have the electronic copy of a manuscript it costs you NOTHING to produce an ebook. You will then retain your tree book business, your high prices AND compete with the likes of Amazon. There are plenty who would like both but would not pay double for ther same book.
Instead publishers are committing suicide with their Luddite attitude.
I resent your suggestion that Anonynmous and Andy J are the same person. Contact the BookSeller.com and complain if you truly believe that.

Well Andy I have to agree with a lot of your post except that I will not buy a tree book to obtain an ebook.

I think it is quite odd that no publisher people have come on here to defend their position. In fact, I have seen nothing from publishers anywhere, other than their oft quoted 'threat of piracy' that gives me any reason not to assume that they think that "we will pay up" at any price just to get an ebook.

I'm suggesting that many readers would like both. I'm not advocating stopping sales of ebooks sold on their own, but a form of competition which would give choice and challenge Amazon's monopoly. I imagine the "free" ebooks would be epub format.

'Get another job'? You really are a loathsome individual and you don't understand a thing I've said. I'd like to know what it is you do for a living that you feel you can make pronouncements like that.