Amazon still has not reached an e-book price agreement with Penguin, whose contract with Amazon expired (like so many others) on April 1 when agency pricing took effect. Penguin is the only one of the “agency pricing five” not to have come to an agreement yet, and so after thirty days, Penguin’s e-books still are not available via Amazon.

Of course, the whole reason for the kerfuffle over e-book pricing to begin with was Amazon’s $9.99 price point for e-books, in which it was buying the books for standard half-hardcover price and then marking them down to increase Kindle sales and market share. Publishers really don’t like that $9.99 price point, even if Amazon is the one taking the loss—they feel it “devalues” their books.

So, what is Amazon doing to put pressure on Penguin? You guessed it—marking down Penguin’s hardcover paper books to $9.99.

It remains to be seen how effective this will be, but it certainly doesn’t make Amazon look as bad as throwing a snit-fit and refusing to sell any Macmillan books at all did.


  1. Penguin also still does not have an agreement with Ingram Digital yet.

    Amazon’s already agreed with four of the agency 5 so I doubt what’s holding things up is just about pricing. I read somewhere it was about Penguin wanting more customer data than Amazon wanted to pass on, but can’t remember where I read it.

  2. I think Amazon’s been doing this all month; I know there was a book (A Murderous Procession, by Ariana Franklin) released April 1 that I had been planning on buying, but couldn’t because it was from Penguin, and noticed then that the hardcover was $9.99 ($25.95 list). Unfortunately, I don’t want a hardcover, so I’m not taking Amazon up on their offer.

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