Workshops  |  Consults  |  Shop  |  Contact
Openness is our greatest human resource.

Pubilshers Move to delay e-Books

An unidentified Amazon spokesman says, "Authors get the most publicity at launch and need to strike while the iron is hot. If readers can't get their preferred format at that moment, they may buy a different book or just not buy a book at all."

Anyone with a blog, Twitter feed or comments field took to their browser to call publishers bozos (just as they did with the television networks when they started Hulu.com....)

On the PR front, I'll repeat the advice offered a while ago on the same issue: customers don't necessarily understand that it was Amazon who sold them a bill of goods on buy-an-expensive-reader-and-get-cheap-bestsellers for life, that the 9.99 price point is a loss leader on new releases, or that retailers take a bigger percentage on ebooks than they do on music (and the list goes on--they imagine that publishers are delaying ebooks over the wishes of authors). Publishers who feel passionately about these issues should be actively engaging on the relevant forums and comments fields to explain the nuances of their actions.Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner published a research note deducing that "it appears Apple will begin ramping production in earnest in February" on their rumored tablet for a late spring launch, concluding they are preparing a supply chain to produce up to 1 million units a month. He notes "the Kindle has disgruntled the publishing industry (book, newspaper, and magazine) by demanding exclusivity, disallowing advertising, and demanding a wolfish cut of revenue." He reiterates the rumors that "Apple is approaching book publishers with a very attractive proposal for distributing their content" on the same 30/70 split they use for songs and apps. But various pieces of misinformation in the piece left publishers still skeptical--has anyone actually made a book content deal with Apple...?

Also of relevance, recently Rory Maher and Henry Blodget took at stab at print and ebook p&ls on the Internet Analyst. Tim O'Reilly offered this interesting comment on their post:

"The biggest problem with Amazon's heavy handed approach is that they are the only one doing the price experimentation. By trying to corner the market, they are precluding the kind of competitive price experimentation that the ebook market needs to find the *right* price.

"I do think that they are doing a good thing by pushing the industry towards lower prices - lower prices often (but not always) do spur an increase in demand. But the way they are doing it, especially withregard to the secrecy that surrounds all their dealings (publishers are forbidden to share any sales figures) means that it will take much longer before the industry gets engaged with the question in the right way.

"Or not. On the iPhone, where books are sold as apps, price experimentation is common, and the market is learning fast."

From Publisher's Lunch