Report: Apple Opens Door To Lower E-Book Pricing

The New York Times reported Thursday that Apple, in the e-books agreements it signed with five major publishers prior to the iPad launch, will require publishers to sell top-selling books at a discount.

This means that while publishers had expected to be able to sell their titles for between $12.99 and $14.99, the Apple-mandated discounts could drive that price down as low as the $9.99 Amazon charges for its e-books, according to the New York Times report.

Book publishers have complained that the $9.99 price point doesn't enable them to make money, and this latest development isn't likely to soothe their concerns. E-books' popularity is steadily rising within the book industry, driven by Amazon's Kindle and other vendors' e-reader products.

However, Amazon has been caught up in its own battle with publishers, and earlier this month, the company settled a dispute with Macmillan over e-book pricing that led the ecommerce site to temporarily pull all Macmillan titles from its Website.

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Apple currently has content agreements with Simon & Schuster, the Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, HarperCollins Publishers and the Penguin Group, all of which will offer e-books through iBooks.