Planeta, Random House Mondadori and Santillana–which comprise 70 percent of the Spanish trade book market–have joined forces to set up an ebook distribution company. And apparently the three hope that together they can impose an economic model on the market–intending to sell ebooks at 80 percent of the print list price, paying royalty of 25 percent, and selling to booksellers at a 50 percent discount. But publishers intend to hold these terms only for two years, through 2011.
Publishing Perspectives (the recently-launched newsletter from the Frankfurt Book Fair covering one issue of international interest daily, led by Ed Nawotka) reports: “This initiative will go hand in hand with a major marketing effort starting with a splashy launch of e-books and e-readers this holiday season through at least one major retailer. They have set a goal of having every frontlist title able to be published simultaneously in both print and ebook form by mid 2011.” The new distribution company will not sell directly to consumers, and has “invited other publishers to participate as well, either as partners or as distribution clients.”
Among prominent dissenters to this master plan is Spain’s top literary agency Carmen Balcells, which has been experimenting with ebook publisher/distributor Leer-e and is not signing on to the proposed terms from the new consortium. “Managing director Javier MartÃn explained that Balcells has a large enough list of authors that they have the ability to negotiate independently with any partner they choose, and believes the royalties for ebooks should be higher than the agreed rate, closer to 40%.”
Educational publisher Vicens Vives and cooperative retailer/distributor Abacus are also forming a digital distribution company, 36-L. They plan to sell an e-reader and package content on a subscription basis: “¬9.99/month for frequent readers, with ebooks priced at ¬1.99, or
¬19.99/month for “super readers”, with ebooks priced at ¬.99, both with
a contract commitment of 18 months.”