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Ingram draws line in sand over agency model

Publishers Marketplace is reporting (in a subscriber-only piece) that U.S. distribution giant Ingram has sent a letter to approximately 65 online retailers telling them it will “have to discontinue the availability of e-book titles from all publishers wishing to do business under an agency model … on or before April 1.” According to the article, the move was prompted by the publishers themselves, many of whom have adopted an agency-model-or-nothing approach:

“The publishers opting to do business in an agency model have left us little choice,” [wrote Ingram Digital general manager Andrew Weinstein], adding “it has become clear that not only will Ingram need to agree to do business with publishers in an agency model, but so will each retailer Ingram powers today.” One retailer indicated having been told that only Random House “ which has not yet moved to an agency model “ would be unaffected. Ingram Digital clients have included Powells.com, Diesel ebooks, and BooksonBoard.

In conversation with us, Weinstein and chief content officer Phil Ollila said the move was driven by written notice from some publishers who will no longer sell their books through the wholesale model as of April 1. But they note that most publishers who are moving to the agency model did not give Ingram a specific deadline. “A number of publishers have told us that we can no longer sell titles the way we have been doing for last 10 years. Short of coming to agreement, we’re not authorized to continue as we have been doing.”