Amazon.com has pulled books from Macmillan, one of the largest publishers in the United States, in a dispute over the pricing on e-books on the site.
The publisher's books can be purchased only from third parties on Amazon.com.
A person in the industry with knowledge of the dispute, which has been brewing for a year, said Amazon was expressing its strong disagreement by temporarily removing Macmillan books. The person did not want to be quoted by name because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Macmillan, like other publishers, has asked Amazon to raise the price of e-books to around $15 from $9.99.
Macmillan is one of the publishers signed on to offer books to Apple, as part of its new iBookstore on the iPad tablet unveiled earlier this week.
Macmillan's imprints include Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martins Press, and Henry Holt. Popular books, including "A Long Way Gone" by Ishmael Beah, "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides, and "Finger Lickin' Fifteen" by Janet Evanovich, could be purchased only from third-party sellers on Friday night.
Apple will allow publishers more leeway to set their own prices for e-books. Although the prices will be tethered to print book prices by a formula that will generally yield prices between $12.99 and $14.99 for most fiction and general nonfiction, that is significantly higher than $9.99 discount that Amazon offers on its Kindle.
Publishers have been concerned that such
It is not clear yet if publishers can withhold books from Amazon while giving them to other parties like Apple. Antitrust lawyers said it could raise legal issues.
Macmillan and its imprints have not yet returned requests for comment. Amazon refused to comment.
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