Random House Moves to Agency Pricing for Ebooks

Random House announced that it is abandoning the traditional book selling model to an agency model for ebooks on Monday. The change means the publisher will set the price for its books and give a flat percentage of each sale to resellers and is a major step towards striking deals with ebook stores such as Apple’s iBookstore.

Random House

“The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms,” the publisher said in a statement. “We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships.”

The company’s new policy went into effect on Tuesday, March 1, a day ahead of Apple’s iPad media event. Assuming Random House timed the switch to coincide with Apple’s media event, it could mean a deal between the two companies could be announced as early as Tuesday.

The other big name publishers, including Simon & Shuster, Penguin, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Hachette, are already on board with Apple’s iBookstore.

There isn’t any word from Apple or Random House on the possibility of an iBookstore deal.