2 months after DOJ settlement, retailers start discounting Macmillan ebooks

Macmillan CEO John Sargent

When Macmillan, the lone publisher holdout in the Department of Justice’s ebook pricing antitrust lawsuit, settled with the DOJ in February, ebook retailers were supposed to be allowed to discount Macmillan titles within three days of the settlement. It ended up taking nearly two months: Publishers Lunch noted Thursday (paywall) that retailers have finally begun discounting select Macmillan titles.

Here are a few examples of ebooks and the discounts they are receiving at various retailers. Note that Kindle, Nook and the iBookstore are matching each other’s discounts, while in most cases Kobo and Google hadn’t begun discounting as of Thursday afternoon.

Title Pub Date Ebook list price Kindle Nook iBookstore Kobo Google
Killing Lincoln (O’Reilly, Dugard) 9/2011 $12.99 $9.99 $9.99 $9.99 $12.99 $12.99
The Silver Linings Playbook (Quick) 10/2012 $9.99 $7.99 $7.99 $7.99 $9.99 $9.99
A Memory of Light (Jordan, Sanderson) 4/2013 $14.99 $13.49 $13.49 $14.99 $14.99 $13.49
Ender’s Game (Card) 1st ebook ed. 4/2010 $6.99 $4.98 $5.99 $5.99 $6.99 $6.99

According to the terms of the settlement, Macmillan — like the other settling publishers — can’t restrict retailers like Amazon from setting, changing, or lowering ebook prices for two years. Though Macmillan only settled in February, its settlement gave it a back-dated head start on the two-year period, running from December 18, 2012 — the same date that Penguin agreed to settle.

Speaking of Penguin: Retailers still have not begun discounting its ebooks, Publishers Lunch notes, even though it settled nearly four months ago. Amazon still lists Penguin’s ebook prices as being set by the publisher.

Discounts on ebooks from Hachette, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins — who settled with the DOJ back in April 2012 — have been in effect for several months. In most cases, retailers haven’t offered steep discounts on any of the settling publishers’ titles, and to my knowledge, we haven’t yet seen any of the bundling promotions or ebook giveaways that are largely allowed by the settlement.

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