Back to Mobile View

Skip to Content

TUAW Deals

HarperCollins pressuring Amazon to hike Kindle prices

The iPad is still a few months away from actual release, but it already has publishers scrambling to be in the right place when the revolution comes. First, Amazon gave in to Macmillan's bid to raise prices on their own store, and now HarperCollins is putting the pressure on that same site to raise eBook prices from $9.99 up to $14.99 or higher. Amazon finds itself in between a rock and an iPad -- if they don't give in to publishers' demands, they could find themselves abandoned for an exclusive Apple deal, but if they do raise prices, sales will start dropping even before the iPad appears. Jobs predicted about this much last week in an interview with Walt Mossberg, saying that publishers would run afoul of the Amazon store, and Jobs would be more than happy to pick them up in iBooks.

But the real question is: how much will Apple charge? Historically, Jobs has been pretty antagonistic on pricing against content providers, only recently giving in to the first price increase in the history of iTunes. At the Apple event the other week, Jobs said on stage that prices on the Kindle and the iPad for books would be "the same," so while fleeting images of the iPad showed bestsellers at around $10 (which is what Amazon charges), it's possible that Jobs would go with the $14.99 price to woo publishers over to his side.

It'll be an interesting battle -- when the iTunes music store first opened, there basically were no strong competitors in terms of other online music retailers. With the iBooks service, Jobs and the iPad are wading into already populated waters. And while Amazon is feeling the heat of the iPad even before it's on store shelves, odds are that they're not going to go down without an eventual fight.