Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Holding Out for an E-Book

This little news item certainly got the attention of all of us in the publishing arena. The Wall Street  Journal reported today that two publishers are planning to delay the release of electronic book versions of top-selling titles. The e-books will appear after the initial release of the hardcover version of the book.

The two issues raised by the WSJ article (price and speed of delivery) are certain to spark discussions by both industry insiders and the book-reading public. I was particularly struck by the notion of e-books creating a new pricing model in publishing. As the article alludes, the music industry experienced this shift a few years ago. While iTunes has adjusted its prices recently, its original pricing strategy did two things: it caused a shift in the price-point from $15 for a compact disc to 99 cents for a single track, and it also caused the entire music market to return to a single-song focus instead of albums. Single songs hadn’t been the dominant format since the early days of the 45 rpm record.

While we aren’t likely to see people paying 99 cents for individual chapters of a book, there is growing concern that consumers will latch on to a $9.99 price for e-books and refuse to accept another format at a higher price. This would expedite the decrease in hardback sales. Since hardback books generally sell for nearly three times the amount of an e-book, the decision to withhold the digital version may simply be an act of self-preservation on the part of book publishers.

However, everyone loves a good conspiracy theory, so I’ll close with this thought. Type “iPad” into Google News (or just click this link) and see what some speculate is the real reason publishers are waiting to launch digital versions of their most popular titles.

Fortunately, we’ve got digital versions of our summaries available this instant! Check out our special Buy 1 Gift Subscription, Get 1 Gift Subscription FREE offer, occurring right now!


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