According to the French publishing group Hachette: Hardback books could be killed off if Amazon’s e-books and Google’s digital library force publishers to slash prices, warns Arnaud Nourry, Hachette’s chief executive.
Mr Nourry said unilateral pricing by Google, Amazon and other e-book retailers such as Barnes & Noble could destroy publishers’ profits (not to mention what is happening to bookstores).
He said publishers were “very hostile” to Amazon’s pricing strategy – over which the online retailer failed to consult publishers – to charge $9.99 for all its e-books in the US. He also pointed to plans by Google to put millions of out-of-copyright books online for public use.
“On the one hand, you have millions of books for free where there is no longer an author to pay and, on the other hand, there are very recent books, bestsellers at $9.99, which means that all the rest will have to be sold at between zero and $9.99,” Mr Nourry said.
Mr Nourry’s comments come as analysts predict a growth spurt for the still-niche electronic reader market, with wireless devices from Sony, Plastic Logic and others due to compete with the Kindle.
Financial Times reports.