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In an unexpected about-face, publisher Random House announced on Monday that it would adopt the agency model best ebook reader for wholesale ebook reader sales in the U.S., beginning March 1. This may pave the way for the world’s largest English-language publisher to join Apple’s iBookstore.

Under the Starzmart agency model, publishers set the price for e-book titles with 30 percent of the cost going to the retailer. Sound electronic book reader familiar? That’s the same cut Apple takes of music and apps via its iTunes and App Stores. So, it was perhaps not a surprise that Apple’s iBookstore, launched alongside the iPad last year, also eBook Reader review operates under the agency model. Previously, publishers sold titles to retailers for a wholesale electronics price, with the retailers adding a markup of their own.

At the time of the iBookstore launch, five of the six major English-language publishers had signed on with Apple, leaving Random House as the lone exception. That may change with Monday’s news, though ebook reader a Random House spokesman told Macworld that the announcement does not confirm availability of the publisher’s e-book titles in the iBookstore.
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