Random House has weighed in on the eBook price wars, and it looks like Macmillan, Hachette and Harper Collins won’t be sending them a fruit basket next Christmas. At the American Bookseller’s Association Winter Institute meeting, Random House made it clear they aren’t interested in pursuing the same “agency model” as their three colleagues.
From the Mobileread forums:
The only bright spot for Amazon, and Kindle owners, came from Madeline McIntosh, the President of Sales, Operations, and Digital for Random House. She pointed out that publishers “have no real experience at setting retail prices.” She also revelaed that one of the reasons Random House had not been party to the iBook Store at launch was because of the pricing issues.
In regards to delayed releasing of ebooks, McIntosh said, “Our current policy is we release e-books at the same time as physical books,” followed by “I haven’t been convinced that it’s good for the author or consumer to delay the release. My fear is that the consumer who has fully embraced the technology will buy another e-book that is available or lose interest altogether. What if I train the consumer that the best scenario is to get it free?”
The poster did not supply a link, but I did find collaboration at The Bookseller that Random House did make it clear they weren’t interested in setting prices. Apparently this is also why Random House is not currently committing to iBooks. Maybe this will lead to Apple being forced to take responsibility for their new bookselling interests, which might in turn bring price competition back to the marketplace. All it would take is Apple using the wholesale model with Random House, and undercutting the “agency” ebooks…
If you want to support Random House, here’s a few ways. Look for books published under the Knopf Doubleday, Crown, Bantam, Ballantine, or Random House imprints; these are all under the Random House Bertelsman umbrella. You can friend them on Facebook and Myspace, and follow them on Twitter. And if you’re really excited, you can contact them and let them know you support them staying away from the agency model!