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Posts Tagged ‘John Sargent’

Macmillan CEO Responds to Blog Comments

macmillan.jpgYesterday Macmillan CEO John Sargent opened a blog where he addressed eBook pricing directly. Under the publisher’s new agency model, he had these general prices for eBook editions: new hardcover releases will range between $14.99 and $12.99; hardcover New York Times bestseller-listed books will be $12.99 or below; and new paperbacks will range between $9.99 and $6.99.

When Dear Author editor Jane Litte asked about eBook pricing, the CEO wrote back personally: “Hi Jane. The high mass market pricing is a legacy of the old model. Under the agency model trade paperbacks will be $9.99 and lower. Mass markets will probably be at the price of the physical book or lower. We may do some experimenting on price here since digtal will be paperback format agnostic. Some books exsist in both formats…”

Nevertheless, it soon appeared that answering comments could become a full-time job for the CEO. As the responses to his posts climbed past fifty, Sargent typed: “Thanks for the comments. I’ll get back to you as time allows. I’ll also try to gather groups of questions that indicate I have not been clear enough and answer them in my next post.”

What do you think? Read more responses to the post after the jump.

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Macmillan CEO John Sargent Blogs about Agency Model and eBook Pricing

macmillan.jpgIn a rare blog appearance, Macmillan CEO John Sargent wrote a short essay about the publisher’s transition to an agency model and eBook pricing.

Here’s an excerpt: “In the ink-on-paper world we publish new books in different formats (hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback) at prices that generally range from $35.00 to $5.99. In the digital world we will price each book individually as we do today. Generally e-book editions of hardcover new releases will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99; a few books will be priced higher and lower. This is a tremendous discount from the price of the printed hardcover books, which generally range from $28.00 to $24.00. E-book editions of New York Times hardcover bestsellers will be priced at $12.99 or lower while they are on the printed list. E-book editions of paperback new releases will be generally priced between $9.99 and $6.99.”

In February, Macmillan engaged in a week-long standoff with Amazon (AMZN) over the future of eBook pricing. The online bookseller temporarily removed buy direct buttons from Macmillan titles. (Via Pablo Defendini)

Macmillan NYT Ad: “Available at booksellers everywhere except Amazon”

amazonad.jpgIn that full-page New York Times advertisement today, Macmillan took a more aggressive stance in the ongoing debate with Amazon over eBook pricing.

The advertisement for Atul Gawande‘s new book, “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right,” has a bold phrase at the bottom: “Available at booksellers everywhere except Amazon.” Published by Metropolitan Books, a publisher under the Macmillan umbrella, the book is currently not available for direct sale on Amazon (as of this 1:03 p.m. writing, follow this link to check over the course of the day).

This is the second time Macmillan has used ads in the battle. In a paid advertisement in Publishers Marketplace, Macmillan CEO John Sargent confirmed that Amazon (AMZN) had stopped directly selling books by the publisher. “It is impossible to reach you all in the very limited timeframe we are working under, so I have sent this message in unorthodox form,” he wrote in that advertisement addressed to “Macmillan authors/illustrators and the literary agent community.”

What do you think? Will these advertisements help in the price fight? You can see a larger copy of the ad after the jump. Follow this link for more coverage of the Macmillan and Amazon standoff.

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Macmillan vs. Amazon vs. Readers

11gEvSNO43L._SL150_.jpgSunday night Amazon wrote that they would “capitulate” to Macmillan’s eBook pricing model, but the online retailer has still not resumed directly selling books by the publisher (as of this 4:11 p.m. EST update). In addition, Amazon stock slipped at closing time for the second day in a row.

Earlier today, the Authors Guild defended Macmillan and criticized Amazon’s “bullying tactics” in an email alert to members entitled “The Right Battle at the Right Time.” Meanwhile, some Amazon customers continue to boycott Kindle books priced higher than $9.99. As of this writing, 1,435 different comments have been posted in response to Amazon’s note to customers about the price war.

UPDATE 4:30 p.m. EST: The NY Times reports: “some Macmillan books were creeping back” this afternoon. Yesterday we interviewed O’Reilly’s Andrew Savikas about the price fight, and he shared some of his own experience: “when we raised the price of an iPhone app from $5 to $10, sales fell by 75 percent overnight. That’s a pretty loud and clear signal from the market.”

Finally, Macmillan author John Scalzi rejected calls for a boycott today, instead urging readers to buy books by Macmillan writers–helping the people most directly hurt by the stand off. After the jump, GalleyCat readers shared indie bookstores around the country where you can find Macmillan titles.

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Amazon Customers Debate Macmillan Price Fight

11gEvSNO43L._SL150_.jpgOver the weekend, Amazon (AMZN) temporarily halted the direct sale of books published by Macmillan in order to express “strong disagreement” over the publisher’s request for higher eBook prices. Here’s an excerpt from the company’s statement saying they will “capitulate” to Macmillan’s prices: “Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it’s reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book.”

Macmillan CEO John Sargent spoke out in a statement: “Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99. At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99. E books will almost always appear day on date with the physical edition. Pricing will be dynamic over time.”

What do you think? Meanwhile, some Amazon customers continue to boycott Kindle books priced higher than $9.99. GalleyCat looked at the Amazon Kindle forums, trying to gauge what Amazon customers thought. We’ve collected a range of opinions below.

Pamela wrote: “I am not in the habit of supporting bullies and will forever refrain from purchasing any book published by Macmillan [heretofore know as 'the bully'] or any of its divisions. I vote with my money and they just lost my vote.”

ScottBooks argued the opposite: “I believe $14.99 is reasonable. It’s a heckuva lot less than what I paid for new hardcovers. (And I get to read them on Kindle!) People who waited for paperbacks can wait for the cheaper eBook edition. You offer them for sale and we’ll decide whether or not to buy them.”

Mabalacat added this point: “If they want higher prices then it is time for them to provide quality formatting. Not just quickly scanned with no effort to fix the OCR errors. The frequent formatting errors would no longer be acceptable.”

K. Landow disagreed: “You should be more concerned about Amazon’s tactics. Why shouldn’t a publisher–who has made the financial commitment and cultivated a project–be able to set their own prices? If you made dog food, widgets, or moon pies do you want your biggest customer telling you what YOUR terms of business should be? No, I didn’t think so.”

It is important to note that Macmillan books are still not available directly from Amazon, as you can see by following links to John Scalzi‘s Old Man’s War or William Poundstone‘s Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value.

Macmillan CEO Confirms Amazon Price Feud

macmillan.jpgIn a paid advertisement in Publishers Marketplace, Macmillan CEO John Sargent confirmed that Amazon (AMZN) had stopped directly selling books by the publisher. “It is impossible to reach you all in the very limited timeframe we are working under, so I have sent this message in unorthodox form,” he wrote in a note addressed to “Macmillan authors/illustrators and the literary agent community.”

The story broke on Friday evening, as Amazon and Macmillan had a dispute over raising the standard eBook price from $9.99 to around $15. After negotiations ended in “impasse,” the online bookseller stopped directly selling Macmillan titles, only offering Macmillan books through outside vendors. The $9.99 price point has been a touchy subject all year. As we reported yesterday, a vocal contingent of Amazon customers are still encouraging others to boycott Kindle books that cost more than $9.99.

Here’s an excerpt from the Publishers Lunch ad: “Under the agency model, we will sell the digital editions of our books to consumers through our retailers. Our retailers will act as our agents and will take a 30% commission (the standard split today for many digital media businesses). The price will be set the price for each book individually. Our plan is to price the digital edition of most adult trade books in a price range from $14.99 to $5.99. At first release, concurrent with a hardcover, most titles will be priced between $14.99 and $12.99. E books will almost always appear day on date with the physical edition. Pricing will be dynamic over time.”

Steve Rubin Named President of Henry Holt

henryholtlogo.jpgToday Macmillan CEO John Sargent announced that Steve Rubin will become president and publisher of Henry Holt at the beginning of November.

The current Henry Holt president Dan Farley will turn his attention towards managing the Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. In September, Rubin resigned as executive VP and publisher-at-large for Random House, a position he assumed in February following massive restructuring at the conglomerate. Before that, he had served as Doubleday Broadway Group’s former publisher.

Here’s Rubin’s statement, from the subscription-only article: “Throughout my career, I have always strived to publish those exceptional books that bridge the gap between commerce and literature. I believe that Holt is the perfect place to do this, given that its sister companies are the distinguished Farrar Straus and the powerhouse St. Martin’s Press, I can’t wait to work more directly with books and authors in developing a tight, powerful, focused list.”

Tina Brown Bashes $9.99 Digital Books

tina2.jpgDaily Beast founder Tina Brown and her husband Sir Harold Evans held a stuffy, packed BEA amphitheater in rapt attention yesterday–quizzing four CEOs about these difficult days for publishing. When Brown lost her voice halfway through the presentation, her husband stepped up to finish the panel. Before leaving, Brown railed against Amazon.com, Inc.’s pricing for the average Kindle book: “$9.99 is a paltry pitiful sum,” she said.

Her husband kept pace, urging the CEOs to “sue the hell” out of Google over the search engine’s controversial book-scanning initiative. Perseus Books CEO David Steinberger plugged his initiative to crash-publish “Book: The Sequel” in 48-hours during BEA. “This is the way you have to behave in the future,” he declared. Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy disagreed with this timetable for print books. “But you have to convince retailers to buy the [print] book–that takes six months.”

Macmillan CEO John Sargent worried about new media campaigns: “The majority of viral marketing doesn’t sell a ton of books,” he complained, referencing a hit viral video his company produced that only resulted in, by his estimate, sales of 210 books. He still thought the best bookselling strategy was a combination of word-of-mouth and front of store placement at bookstores around the country.

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