Publishers usually have the last word, but eleventh-hour negotiations with Apple disclosed by the WSJ say that Apple is urging for bestselling books to be sold for $12.99 or $14.99 (some maybe even at $9.99), and like the developer agreement on iPhone apps, Apple will take a estimated 30 percent cut.
Customers face a higher price, but selling books through Apple could actually result in a smaller profit for publishers than through Amazon, who Gizmodo says “sells a number of bestsellers for $10 by taking a loss (paying the publisher, say, $15). Amazon’s latest scheme does look more like Apple’s, where publishers want 70 percent of the revenue, but book prices are capped at $10. And it’s the $10 pricepoint that’s the problem for publishers, both philosophically and practically: They want people to believe books are worth more than $9.99, and they want to set the prices themselves.”
The Apple tablet’s form factor seems all too fitting for an ebook reader – we’ll know soon if it has a real chance against Amazon and other ebook retailers starting tomorrow. Will Apple’s tablet do for books what the iPod did for music?