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On Jan. 27, Steven P. Jobs was still standing on a stage in San Francisco, presenting Apple’s new iPad, when the phones started ringing. Senior managers from Amazon.com were calling newspaper, magazine and book publishers trying to glean any information possible about the deals Apple was offering them to supply content for its new reading device.
Amazon, which pioneered the e-reader category with its Kindle devices, is determined not to be out-priced by Apple or any other rival.
Since December, Amazon has been pushing publishers to sign a new round of legal agreements that would guarantee that the Kindle price for their content is always the same or lower than the price on other electronic reading devices, such as the iPad or the Sony Reader. The clause, a variation of a legal concept known as “most favored nation,” would guarantee that Amazon’s customers would always get the best price for electronic versions of magazines, newspapers and books.