Macmillan titles return to Amazon

Following up on its Sunday statement that it is relenting to demands to raise e-book pricing above $9.99 for best sellers, Macmillan books are again available for sale via Amazon.com.

Zoe Slocum Fomer Senior editor, CNET News
Zoë Slocum joined CNET in 2003, after two years at a travel start-up. Having managed the Blog Network and served as copy chief, she now edits part-time and serves as a mom full-time.
Zoe Slocum
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After a weeklong public dispute over e-book pricing, the paper and electronic titles of publisher Macmillan are returning to Amazon.com's virtual store shelves.

The online retailer, in reaction to Macmillan demanding that some of its e-books be priced higher than Amazon's $9.99 standard, had "expressed [its] strong disagreement and the seriousness of [its] disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles."

The title takedown was indeed temporary. According to a Friday afternoon post by Publishers Weekly, "sources said an agreement has been completed, and the e-tailer has begun putting back the direct-buy option. It was not known if Macmillan offered any concessions to get the buttons restored."

Amazon had on Sunday said that while it still believes a $14.99 price tag for e-books is "needlessly high," it will have to give in to Macmillan's demands to sell electronic versions of its books at a higher rate. It has apparently been negotiating with Macmillan over the future pricing of e-books since then.

"I am delighted to be back in business with Amazon," Macmillan CEO John Sargent said in an e-mail message quoted Friday in a New York Times post.

While Sargent did not elaborate on Macmillan's negotiations with Amazon, the e-tailer's Sunday message indicated that it is giving in to publisher requests to charge between $12.99 and $14.99 for electronic versions of bestsellers.

Although the two parties clearly have come to some kind of agreement, it is unclear whether Amazon has already repriced Macmillan e-book titles. As a small sampling, Kindle editions of Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex" and Ishmael Beah's "A Long Way Gone"--whose paper copies were available only from third parties via Amazon's Web site this week--are currently selling, respectively, for $9.99 and $8.64, while Michael Chabon's "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" does not have a listed Kindle price.