Amazon, Sony agree to agency deals over e-books in US

<p>A number of US publishers have struck deals with and Sony that will allow them to set e-book prices, as the US publishing industry readies itself for the biggest shift in how e-books are sold ever in its short history.<br /><br />The Wall Street Journal reports that Simon &amp; Schuster and HarperCollins Publishers have struck deals with to set their own prices on e-books, following the lead set by Macmillan US earlier in the year. Rival e-book manufacturer Sony has also confirmed that most e-books sold by Macmillan, Simon &amp; Schuster, Hachette, Penguin and HarperCollins will be priced by the publishers, with costs expected to be between $12.99 to $14.99.<br /><br />The deals follow the agency model agreed to earlier in the year by five US publishers with Apple: said in February that it would be forced to give in to a demands by Macmillan US to operate under similar terms follow a short, but very public, dispute with the publisher. <a href="../news/111652-apple-helps-shift-landscape-for-uk-publishers-over-e-books.html" target="_blank" title=" February publishes told The Bookseller that others would soon follow, prompted by the upcoming launch of the Apple iPad.</a><br /><br />The developments mean US publishers are facing a huge switch in how they sell digital books, with some warning of short terms problems in e-book availability as a result.<br /><br />Hachette Book Group chief executive David Young confirmed in a note to authors and agents that it had &quot;made arrangements with most of our ebook distributors to operate under this [agency] model&quot;, and warned that there could &quot;be a few hiccups along the way, and you may even see some short-term interruption in the availability of our eBooks, especially in the first few days, as systems are being adapted to accommodate changes&quot;.<br /><br />Random House is the only big US publisher not following this route, with its chief executive Markus Dohle<a href="../news/114927-random-house-admits-concern-over-apple-agency-model.html" target="_blank" title=" warning last month that Apple&#39;s pricing regime could erode established publishing practices</a>. It was revealed earlier this week that Apple&#39;s had set strict guidelines on the prices publishers could put on e-books on its iBook Store, limited by the price of the competing printed title.</p>