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Apple working with Harper Collins for e-books on tablet

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in talks with book publisher HarperCollins to bring electronic books to the company’s new tablet device, expected to be introduced at next week’s media event. The report notes that pricing for the e-books, which would offer enhanced content, would be established by HarperCollins with Apple receiving a portion of the sales.
HarperCollins is expected to set the prices of the e-books, which would have added features, with Apple taking a percentage of sales. Details haven’t been ironed out.

It couldn’t be learned whether Apple will sell the HarperCollins titles via a new e-book store or through its existing iTunes Store, which sells music, television shows and movies. Other publishers also have met with Apple, people familiar with the matter said. Apple declined to comment.

While Apple has been rumored to be attempting to “redefine” print media with its new tablet device and e-books have naturally been considered a significant segment of that industry as evidenced by the rise of dedicated e-readers, reports on Apple’s plans for e-book content have been relatively few and far between. Speculation surfaced a number of months ago that Apple would be unlikely to directly enter the e-book market given the fragmented and difficult industry, but tapping publishers themselves to provide content has long been considered a likely path for the company.

Apple has also reportedly been looking at other aspects of print media, apparently spurring magazine publishers to begin developing their own distribution models while electronic textbooks publishers have been envisioning their products on Apple tablet devices. A number of major newspapers have also reportedly held discussions with Apple about bringing their content to its tablet, with New York Times executive editor Bill Keller even mentioning the device in an all-hands staff meeting addressing the future of the paper.

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