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Publishers Move to Delay eBook Releases

Interesting development, reported in Publisher's Lunch today:

Big Publishers Move to Broad Delay of eBook Releases

With delayed publication dates the only real weapon in publishers' arsenals in fighting back against the $9.99 price point for high-profile new releases in ebook form, experimentation is getting ready to turn into policy in the year ahead. The WSJ reports that Simon & Schuster will delay ebook releases for about 35 "leading titles" early next year, and Hachette "has similar plans in the works." Meanwhile, we're aware of at least one other big six publisher contemplating the same kind of policy for the first quarter of next year.

S&S ceo Carolyn Reidy tells the Journal: "The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback. We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."

Hachette ceo David Young adds: "We're doing this to preserve our industry. I can't sit back and watch years of building authors sold off at bargain-basement prices. It's about the future of the business."

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December 9th, 2009