We have official confirmation that HarperCollins e-books have been disabled on Amazon all over the world. This includes big markets such as Amazon Australia, Canada, India, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom. The only country where you can buy the latest HarperCollins bestseller is the main Amazon.com website.
Not only are all HarperCollins e-books not available to purchase all over the world, but Amazon has also removed the text that lets you know that the Kindle price was established by the publisher. Oddly enough, the paperback and hardcover books are still available and there is no shipping delays.
Last year Amazon and Harpercollins reached a new multi-year publishing deal for e-books and print. The agreement calls for HarperCollins to set the retail prices of its digital books, with incentives for HarperCollins to provide lower prices to consumer.
The deal also benefited Amazon because it assures the retailer of a profit on HarperCollins digital titles. Under the so-called agency pricing model, publishers keep roughly 70% of the revenue from each individual sale, with Amazon receiving an estimated 30% as their fee. Discounting is done only with approval of the publisher.
The exact terms of the contact renewal were not disclosed, but it looks like this deal was only applicable to the US market and not other countries.
Many journalists have reached out to me and said that they can see the price of the Kindle edition and my reporting is off-base. This is because if you are not logged in it shows the cost of the Kindle edition, but once you log in with your user credentials it removes the price and tells you the title can only be purchased from Amazon.com. I noticed the United Kingdom is doing something that none of the other markets are doing. If you are not logged in it shows the Kindle price, but once you login the Kindle option simply disappears.
I have reached out to Amazon and HarperCollins to try and get an official comment and will update this post when I hear back from them.
Update: I was told there was a bug in the system for a few hours and most countries can buy the Kindle books again.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.