US publishers seek new digital model with Apple

<p>Top US publishers are in &#39;secret&#39; negotiations with Apple for the launch of the expected Apple Tablet/Slate/Pad later this month, with reports suggesting that they are seeking greater control over pricing and supply of digital material. The reports follow the piece in the <a href="../news/109842-harpercollins-believed-to-be-in-talks-with-apple.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/109842-harpercollins-believed-to-be-in... Street Journal</em>, yesterday which named HarperCollins US as one of the parties said to be in the negotiations</a>.<br /><br /><a href="http://publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/archives/006139.php" target="_blank" title="http://publishersmarketplace.com/lunch/archives/006139.php">Publishers Marketplace reports that Apple representatives are in New York for meetings this week with &quot;nearly all (and most likely all) of the six largest trade publishers&quot; though adds that those party to the discussion have cautioned that any deals may not be ready in time for the launch next Wednesday</a>.<br /><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jan/20/apple-tablet-reader-lau... target="_blank" title="http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jan/20/apple-tablet-reader-lau... />Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury Publishing, is eager to meet this new entrant in the e-reader market, according to a piece in the Guardian.</a> &quot;The fact that Apple is coming in is terrific. E-books are already &shy;happening with the Kindle &ndash; we have been pleasantly surprised by the &shy;volume of e-book sales &ndash; but this will accelerate it.&quot;<br /><br />According to PM publishers are seeking an &quot;agency model&quot; with Apple, whereby they control access to the digital file and the price it is sold at, <a href="../news/109849-nourry-urges-publishers-to-join-digital-platform.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/109849-nourry-urges-publishers-to-join... model similar to that proposed in France this week by Hachette chief Arnaud Nourry</a>. As PM notes drily, &quot;a new system of selling would actually expand the network of retailers selling ebooks since losing money on top titles would no longer be a pre-requisite to doing business&quot;.<br /><br />What is clear is that US publishers are desperate to combat the $10 Kindle price tag pushed by Amazon.com, and believe that if enough weight is given to it other retailers will be forced to follow. But PM notes that Amazon executives are also in New York meeting with publishers and agents this week with &quot;simultaneous ebook release of new titles and pricing&quot; foremost in their minds.<br /><br />As for UK publishers, some sites are reporting that the new device will be available only in the US on launch. <a href="http://www.9to5mac.com/apple_tablet_us_only?utm_source=feedburner&amp;ut... target="_blank" title="http://www.9to5mac.com/apple_tablet_us_only?utm_source=feedburner&amp;ut... this may be the case has been sparked by the company&rsquo;s decision not to hold an event for European media to coincide with the January 27 launch in Cupertino. Given the huge speculation and global media expectation surrounding the much-mooted Apple tablet this omission may suggest the product will be introduced exclusively into the US at first</a>.&quot; But it is flying European Apple watchers to the event.</p>