Book publishers were locked in last-minute talks with Apple ahead of today's unveiling of the tablet, which has been touted as promising to change the publishing industry as radically as the iPod did the music industry. The tablet's model for books, which puts it in direct competition with the Amazon Kindle, moves away from the heavy e-book discounting the Kindle has brought, asking publishers to price books at $12.99 or $14.99, rather than the $9.99 Amazon favors.
Publishers will probably have to choose between Apple and Amazon, the Wall Street Journal reports, and the choice won't be easy. With the tablet they'll regain control over pricing, but actually make less—Amazon pays them half the hardcover price, which is typically $28.95, and takes a loss, while Apple will pay 70% of the tablet price. The industry is also hoping for an increase in sales volume: "The gamble is if Apple comes to the table with their sexy device and their millions of customers, will they dramatically increase the e-book business?" a publishing executive said.