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Amazon Should Cave to Macmillan: Poll

Amazon should cave to Macmillan Publishers in the e-book pricing debate, according to a poll of readers of <I>TheStreet</I>.



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would be making the right decision if it were to cave to Macmillan publishers, according to readers of



In a poll conducted over the past week, 55.5% of voters said Amazon would be right to give in to Macmillan, while 44.5% said the e-retailer should hold its ground.

Last week, Amazon removed some of Macmillan's titles after the publisher said it planned on upping prices for e-books -- but a few days later, the company appeared to have a change of heart and announced it would accept the publisher's decision.

"We have expressed our strong disagreement and the seriousness of our disagreement by temporarily ceasing the sale of all Macmillan titles," Amazon said, in a statement. "We want you to know that ultimately, however, we will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books."

Starting in March, the publisher said it will set the consumer price for each book, and Amazon will take a 30% commission. Most new releases will cost between $12.99 and $14.99.

Amazon has traditionally set e-book prices at a default of $9.99 for new releases and best sellers.

Still those books have not reappeared in Amazon's marketplace and on Thursday Macmillan took a jab at Amazon with an advertisement for one of its best sellers. It read: "Available at booksellers everywhere except Amazon."

Macmillan said it is still in the process of negotiating with Amazon and doesn't know when those titles will return to the site.

This battle unfolds as the competition between e-readers intensifies. The unveiling of

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iPad last week raised concerns among investors that the device could steal market share away from Amazon's Kindle with its iBook store.

Apple said that it will allow publishers to set prices for books on the iPad and take a 30% cut.

Big-name publisher Hachette Book Group is standing behind Apple's pricing model.


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also announced this week that it is looking into developing its own tablet.

In an effort to combat these threats, it's rumored that Amazon is acquiring


. If this deal is, in fact, in the works, it would give Amazon the capability to add color and a touch-screen to the Kindle.

Those who approve of Amazon's decision say higher prices could lead to higher margins.

"While the irony is palpable that increasing competition in the e-book market might actually push prices higher (back to the physical format levels), we note that Amazon could turn e-books from loss leaders to profit generators," analyst Colin Sebastian of Lazard Capital Markets wrote in a note.

--Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.


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