Hachette Book Group moves to Agency model

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.

February 4, 2010
Dear Agent,

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.

David Young

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Hachette Book Group

4 Responses

  1. BookLover

    Thank you for explaining your position so clearly. Hope to see a wide range of books available at a wide range of prices!

  2. Anaglyph

    If you’ll read the actual press releases, the higher prices are intended for ebook releases concurrent with hardback release. Prices will drop to the vicinity of $5 with paperback release. In other words, prices will reflect the same flexibility they’ve always had with print books.

    Torrent is stealing, plain and simple. You don’t walk into PigglyWiggly and help yourself to groceries without paying, and you shouldn’t be helping yourself to authors books. It’s the exact same thing.

  3. /shakeshead

    I will believe it when I see it. I won’t hold my breath.

    Doesn’t matter whether you or I think its stealing. The only issue is whether its going on or not. There is easy enough ways to combat piracy. Baen has a nice answer for it. Along with many other authors out there who have embraced the digital world. There products barely see a torrent site.

    Evolve or die. Enough said.