Amazon.co.uk has promised to “fight against higher prices for e-books” which it says will result from a move to the ‘agency model’ by UK book publishers.
Under the pricing model, publishers set the retail price for titles which booksellers are then obliged to sell at.
Currently retailers are setting their own prices resulting in huge variations between outlets which some in the industry says confuses buyers over the true costs of books.
Earlier this week the UK Kindle team published a blog post in which they expressed the belief that publishers moving to the agency model “will raise prices on e-books for consumers almost across the board” and that the move “is a damaging approach for readers, authors, booksellers and publishers alike.”
The post references the move to agency terms by “a few large publishers” in the US and says when prices for titles published by them increased “sales immediately shifted away from agency publishers and towards the rest of our store.”
Although many consumers expect ebook prices to be lower than for paper editions this often isn’t the case with some industry figures suggesting the levying of VAT on digital books absorbs some of the savings in production and distribution.
A move to agency terms by Hachette UK earlier this year reportedly led to some booksellers removing their titles from sale.