News Corp also takes aim at Amazon e-book pricing

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch is the latest person upset with Amazon’s $9.99 e-book pricing tier, opening the door to possible re-negotiations with the popular e-tailer.

The outspoken CEO, who controls HarperCollins, could also request Amazon to raise prices on e-books.

“We don’t like the Amazon model of selling everything at $9.99,” Murdoch noted recently. “They pay us the wholesale price of $14 or whatever we charge. But I think it really devalues books and it hurts all the retailers of the hard cover books.”

Macmillan, which already has forced Amazon to increase the e-book price of some of its books, recently launched a damage control campaign.

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“Many of you are wondering what has taken so long for Amazon and Macmillan to reach a conclusion,” said John Sargent, Macmillan CEO, in a statement.  “I want to assure you that Amazon has been working very, very hard and always in good faith to find a way forward with us.  Though we do not always agree, I remain full of admiration and respect for them.  Both of us look forward to being back in business as usual.”

All of this pricing confusion could lead to consumers losing faith in the Kindle e-reader, especially with so many other competing products available.  The Apple iPad, Barnes & Noble Nook, and other products could end up picking up some slack if Amazon is unable to figure out its problems with book publishers.

Amazon said the Macmillan decision could lead to smaller companies stepping up and offering new prices — or other major book publishers could just force Amazon to increase prices further.

I’ve received questions and comments from a few readers regarding this issue, and I’m reaching out to several book publishers and e-reader companies to learn more about this complicated issue.

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