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Amazon concedes, grants $13-$15 e-book prices to Macmillan


Days after Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad and implied e-book prices would go up, Amazon gave in to a standoff with book publisher Macmillan, raising prices to between $12.99 and $14.99.

This weekend, Amazon had temporarily ceased selling titles from Macmillan as a pricing dispute between the two companies found no resolution. But Sunday, Amazon conceded and posted an announcement on its Kindle Community forums.

Calling Macmillan one of the "big six" publishers, Amazon said the company "clearly communicated" that they want to charge between $12.99 and $14.99 for e-book versions of bestsellers and most hardcover releases. Though Amazon strongly disagrees with Macmillan's stance, they raised the white flag.

"We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books," the announcement said. "Amazon customers will at that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay $14.99 for a bestselling e-book.

"We don't believe that all of the major publishers will take the same route as Macmillan. And we know for sure that many independent presses and self-published authors will see this as an opportunity to provide attractively priced e-books as an alternative."

Just before the iPad launch, some book publishers told The Wall Street Journal they had talks with Apple over e-book pricing on the iPad. Those negotiations would allegedly price new hardcover bestsellers at $12.99 and $14.99.

Immediately after Wednesday's iPad announcement, Jobs spoke with journalist Walt Mossberg about e-book pricing. He said the iPad and Amazon Kindle would offer "the same" prices on e-books, but did not elaborate. Prior to Amazon's dispute with Macmillan, new e-books cost $9.99 on the Kindle.

"Publishers are actually withholding their books from Amazon, because they're not happy with it," Jobs said to Mossberg.

On Sunday, when Amazon pulled Macmillan books from its online store, titles from the company could only be purchased through third-party retailers. The dispute could foreshadow the pricing structure to come in Apple's new iBookstore for the iPad.