Sunday, December 13, 2009
Sometimes I wonder whether large publishers want to fail at epublishing. Or do they think that if they screw up at epublishing, nobody else will do it? We have publishers charging hardback prices and paying paperbck royalty rates on ebooks. And now there seem to be more and more major publisher providing ebooks versions sporadically, and after a significant delay. Simon & Schuster are considering delaying ebook release of a book by four months. The normally slightly more reader-friendly, Harper Collins, jumped on board with this idea and upped the ante to six months.
What exactly is the logic here? Do they really think inpatient readers will run out and buy a hardback, or perhaps go online and pirate a free ebook copy? But even if there is a financial benefit do they place no value whatsoever on giving the customer what they want, in the format they want, with open simultaneous choice? Or maybe selfish people who want or depend on ebooks, like--say--the visually disabled, should just expect to have to wait at the back of the line. It seems that large publishers are only really willing to "experiment" in one area, and that is screwing their customers for every penny.