Ingram Digital May Stop eBook Availability until Agency Model in Place

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Ingram Digital’s General Manager Andrew Weinstein has sent a letter to its client retailers informing them of the possibility that they will be forced to stop the availability of ebooks titles in their catalogue listing from publishers who intend implementing the agency model. From as early as April—of the largest New York publishers—Ingram Digital may only list Random House ebook titles because they remain the one large publishing house likely to opt of implementing the agency model, preferring to adopt a wait and see approach.

According to today’s Publisher’s Lunch (subscription only), Weinstein informed retailers:

“the publishers opting to do business in an agency model have left us little choice…it has become clear that not only will Ingram need to agree to do business with publishers in an agency model, but so will each retailer Ingram powers today.”

Speaking directly to Publishers Lunch, Weinstein explained that Ingram Digital had been placed in a difficult situation with a number of publishers informing them of their wish to stop using the current wholesale model for ebooks and move quickly to the agency model. The urgency and speed of the implementation by publishers of the agency model has created a problem for Ingram as they have yet to finalise terms of an agency model agreement with their own retail clients.

A number of publishers have told us that we can no longer sell titles the way we have been doing for last 10 years. Short of coming to agreement, we’re not authorized to continue as we have been doing.”

The key issue for Ingram Digital under an agency model agreement with publishers is how the proposed 30% split is shared between Ingram as wholesaler and their retailer clients. Weinstein concluded by informing Publishers Lunch that they were committed to reaching agreement with publishers whether they adopted the agency model or continued with the wholesale models—Ingram Digital were positioned to support both.
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2 Comments

  1. Inkling said:

    As a small publisher with a dozen or so ebook titles, this is likely to be a bit messy for me, perhaps involving a new contract and a few lost sales. But it’d be better than the situation that exists with Amazon and that’s likely to develop with Apple.

    I’m talking about those ‘don’t sell cheaper’ clauses. I have no interest in getting trapped in contracts that insist that I not sell to anyone for a lower price than that they get. I don’t want the administrative burden of tracking those obligations or the danger of nasty lawyers writing threatening letters. I also want to freedom to allow special groups, say a website dedicated to a particular author, to get an additional discount for the services they render.

    Ingram Digital could provide a market price and a contract that buffers me from the necessity of dealing with and signing differing contracts with numerous online stores. It could also give me the freedom to sell elsewhere, including my own website, at a price I choose.

    In short, I’d be delighted to see Ingram Digital serve as a buffer between me and the likes of Amazon. I’m more concerned about that than the particularly model for pricing and payment.

  2. kathryn said:

    I’m talking about those ‘don’t sell cheaper’ clauses. I have no interest in getting trapped in contracts that insist that I not sell to anyone for a lower price than that they get. I don’t want the administrative burden of tracking those obligations or the danger of nasty lawyers writing threatening letters. I also want to freedom to allow special groups, say a website dedicated to a particular author, to get an additional discount for the services they render.

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