Simon & Shuster has joined Harper Collins and Hachette by reaching a new agreement with major online booksellers. The company has officially started to disband the old agency pricing model, which limited the ability of Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble from establishing their own prices. Amazon and iBooks are currently discounting most ebooks from S&S and other retailers should start slashing the prices very soon.
Totally absolving the agency model of bookselling has been one of the most notable news items of 2012. Many publishers colluded with Apple when it launched iBooks to create a uniform ebook pricing structure to disrupt Amazon’s complete dominance over the industry. This caught the attention of not only the US Justice Department but also the European Union, where price fixing and cartels are illegal. Apple and Penguin continue to fight it out in court, but most other publishers ended up disbanding the old agency model and now allow online retailers to establish their own prices.