While the saga of alleged price fixing between several major publishers and Apple raged in the US, a similar investigation and court decision were taking place by the European Commission. Those same five Big Six publishers–Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Macmillan–ultimately came to agreements with Amazon in the US over the wholesale-versus-agency pricing model.
The allegations that led to the investigations held that the publishers worked together to thwart Amazon from discounting their titles, forcing the retailer instead to sell the titles at the publishers’ predetermined costs.
Today, The Bookseller reported that another publisher has come on board with an amended sales model in an effort to more forward from the investigation. Simon&Schuster has adopted what is being referred to as refined agency pricing, which will allow Amazon UK to offer significant discounts on the price of S&S books.
Earlier this year, Hachette and HarperCollins agreed to new terms with Amazon, in accordance with an EU ruling that the previous agreements were no longer valid. Since the new agreement and the onset of refined agency pricing, Amazon no longer lists those titles with the disclaimer that the price was determined by the publisher; also, a number of titles from those publishers have already been discounted on the retailer’s website.