Publishers could follow Random's agency move

Random House UK's switch to the agency model this week could lead other publishers to follow suit, despite the Office of Fair Trading investigating e-book pricing.

The publisher's switch on Tuesday meant it has around 6,000 of its e-books available through the iBookstore. However, it has yet to impose agency pricing across all retailers.

When the OFT launched its investigation in February, many expected publishers would halt a move to agency pricing until the probe was resolved. However, RHG’s move could influence opinion, with Quiller Publishing m.d. Andrew Johnston saying: “I think the fact that Random House has gone over will probably drive other publishers to go down a similar route.

“It will perhaps give other publishers the idea that it might work, but it’s not an entirely satisfactory arrangement [with the OFT investigation still ongoing].”

This follows Random House US’ adoption of the agency model in March. Evan Schnitt­man, Bloomsbury managing director, group sales and marketing, said: “When Random House US went to agency, it was just a matter of time one assumed [before RH UK made the switch].”