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One of the biggest holdouts from Apple’s iBookstore may finally join the party, now that Random House has announced a switch to an agency model for e-books, effective Tuesday, March 1. But what does it mean for iBooks?
AppleInsider is reporting that Random House may soon make its debut on Apple’s iBookstore, now that the world’s largest publisher has made a big switch in the way they do business with e-books.
Effective Tuesday, March 1, Random House will now use what’s known as the agency model with their e-book sales. According to the publishing powerhouse, the company will now “set consumer prices for the e-books we publish, and […] will provide retailers with a commission for each sale.”
Apple’s entire ecosystem is built around a similar business model, with 70 percent going to developers and Cupertino retaining 30 percent as the gatekeeper. That includes the company’s iBookstore, which is the storefront for the iBooks app on their iPad, iPhone and iPod touch devices.
"The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms," Random House elaborated. "We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships."
Random House and Apple have been at odds since the iBookstore launched a year ago, which has led avid e-book readers to seek the publishing giant’s catalog of titles elsewhere -- including Apple’s competitor, Amazon Kindle.
While the five largest Random House competitors -- HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and Simon & Shuster -- have enjoyed their one-year lead in the iBookstore, the timing of the Random House announcement may indicate they’ll have at least part of Wednesday’s Apple event, where a new iPad is widely expected to be unveiled.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter