Hachette UK to set e-book prices from Monday

Hachette UK to set e-book prices from Monday

<p>Hachette UK will begin setting e-book prices on retailers&#39; websites from Monday after indicating this week that it will move to agency terms with every &quot;reseller, including Amazon and Apple&quot; from 20th September.</p><p>The UK&#39;s biggest publisher has become the first to break ranks and demand control over prices in the UK and could set it on a collision course with Amazon.co.uk, which has previously insisted that it would set its own Kindle prices. Despite Apple&#39;s move into the UK e-book market in May, retailers have continued to control e-book pricing, with Amazon&#39;s low-pricing on the Kindle leading to fears that this autumn could be &quot;carnage&quot; for rival retailers.<br /><br />In an email seen by <em>The Bookseller</em>, Gardners, wrote to retailers telling them of this change from Hachette, which it said would be effective from Monday, 20th September. Gardners provides e-books for retailers including Tesco, The Book Depository and independent bookshops. In an attached agreement document for retailers, it said: &quot;[Retailers] shall agree that it shall not alter the customer price of any e-book without [Hachette&#39;s] prior written consent.&quot;<br /><br />Gardners said retailers must sign up to the agreement if they wish to continue selling Hachette e-books. The email added: &quot;Please note that due to the stringent requirements in the agreement I am unable to negotiate and this agreement will be applied to every reseller, including Amazon and Apple. These are not Gardner terms, but the publisher&#39;s and may I suggest that should you wish to &#39;discuss&#39; the terms, direct the queries to the publisher.&quot;<br /><br />In a letter to agents in June, Hachette c.e.o. Tim Hely Hutchinson wrote to agents saying it was in discussions with retailers about the shift to agency. He said at the time: &quot;As we will be selling the books direct to consumers, we will be establishing the sales prices for those transactions.&quot; Last week Waterstone&#39;s managing director Dominic Myers told <em>The Bookseller</em> that the retailer was not dealing with publishers on agency terms, but added that discussions were ongoing.<br /><br />It is unclear how Amazon will react, having previously said it would offer the <a href="../news/124644-amazon-to-set-e-book-prices-for-kindle-uk.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/124644-amazon-to-set-e-book-prices-for... e-book prices in the UK</a> and that it would be setting them. The company declined to comment and if it does not agree with Hachette, it raises the likelihood of a repeat of the terms dispute from 2008, which lasted more than a year and led to Amazon removing the &#39;Buy New&#39; buttons from Hachette titles.</p><p>Hachette&#39;s move could lead to other publishers following suit and bringing a uniformity to e-book pricing across retailers.</p><p>Hachette declined to comment when contacted by <em>The Bookseller</em>.<br /> </p>