Saturday, October 17, 2009

Books: Get Them While They're Hot

The Atlantic  / Correspondents / Peter Osmos  / Oct 13 2009 / 10:50AM

Two announcements lately highlight the growing and increasingly glamorous role of the digital delivery and distribution of books. HarperCollins, publisher of Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, said it was rushing the book to sale on November 17, months earlier than originally planned. But the publisher is withholding the e-book version to be offered on the Kindle, Sony Reader, and their emerging competitors until the day after Christmas because the hardcover price, listed at $28.99, will be so much higher than the digital book, which certainly will go for much less ... [snip]


The point is that the concept of withholding the e-book for a while to drive hardcover sales ...  is sensible, traditional in its way,  ... . As the marketplace for digital books develops, this may well be a standard pattern for expected bestsellers: readers will have to wait to get the book in lower-priced versions, as they have for decades.


So, if the staging of books in various formats isn't new, and neither is the notion of instant books, what then is actually happening to justify the buzz about these developments?

It is the emergence of digital books as a significant factor in the future of book sales. Last week, Barnes & Noble announced it would have an e-reading device in stores for the holiday season, and Amazon again dropped the price of its standard Kindle. Forester Research predicts total sales for e-book devices will be three million units in 2009 and double that in 2010. [snip]

[snip] The five-hundred-year-old era of the printed book is definitely not over, in my view, or even especially endangered, aside from the impact of the brutal recession we've been through. But the digital age has now, really, unequivocally, arrived. And that, for the publishing community as well as readers, should be a plus.



!!! Thanks To / Garrett Eastman / Librarian / Rowland Institute at Harvard / For The HeadsUp !!!

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