Galleycat reports on Hachette Book Group’s decision to move to the same type of agency model proposed by Macmillan. Below is the letter from their CEO, David Young.
At Hachette Book Group, we have been considering a new pricing model for some time, and have decided to transition to selling our e-books through an agency model.
There are many advantages to the agency model, for our authors, retailers, consumers, and publishers. It allows Hachette to make pricing decisions that are rational and reflect the value of our authors’ works. In the long run this will enable Hachette to continue to invest in and nurture authors’ careers–from major blockbusters to new voices. Without this investment in our authors, the diversity of books available to consumers will contract, as will the diversity of retailers, and our literary culture will suffer.
The agency relationship will allow us to make more titles available to more consumers on more platforms. This expands the author’s reach and readership, which is at the heart of what we do as a publisher. Ultimately, these new terms open doors to all online e-book service providers and create more avenues for delivering e-books to readers.
Another great benefit to our consumers is that we intend to release HBG e-books simultaneously with the hardcover (or first format print edition).
It’s important to note that we are not looking to the agency model as a way to make more money on e-books. In fact, we make less on each e-book sale under the new model; the author will continue to be fairly compensated and our e-book agents will make money on every digital sale. We’re willing to accept lower return for e-book sales as we control the value of our product–books, and content in general. We’re taking the long view on e-book pricing, and this new model helps protect the long term viability of the book marketplace.
We believe that this new model is preferable to withholding books, and is in our authors’ and HBG’s best interest. I’m happy to answer individual questions about the agency model, so please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Hachette Book Group