With the iPad's launch just days away, several publishers will begin setting e-book prices on Amazon.com starting Thursday, according to published reports.
CBS' Simon & Schuster and News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers have struck deals with Amazon.com to determine their own prices for electronic titles, according to The Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek reports. (CNET is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS.) Additionally, Macmillan, Hachette Book Group, and Penguin Group will begin setting their own prices on Thursday, according to a Sony letter cited by BusinessWeek.
Most e-books will cost between $12.99 and $14.99, higher than Amazon's $9.99 standard, but some newer titles will still be priced at $9.99, according to the reports.
The pricing model appears to mirror an announcement made earlier this year with Macmillan after a public dispute over e-book pricing with Amazon. Book publishers had asked Amazon to increase the price of e-books on its Web site, but Amazon stood firm in its contention that anything above $9.99 was too high. Amazon eventually relented after many popular Macmillan titles disappeared from the e-tailer's site.
"Our digital future is more assured today than it was two months ago," Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers, told the Journal, adding that the deal followed a month of negotiations.
Amazon representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The shift comes just days before Apple is scheduled to begin shipping its iPad touch-screen tablet computer, which will enable users to read e-books, as well as surf the Web, play games, and watch videos. Apple had been rumored to be in secret negotiations with publishers for a deal with similar price points for e-books on the iPad, which may help give publishers more influence over how their books are priced.
Amazon currently controls about 90 percent of the e-book market. However, that market share is expected to dip to 72 percent this year and to 35 percent by 2015, according to Credit Suisse.