Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 27, 2009

Book Publishers Delaying ebook Versions of Frontlist

There has been a lot of buzz about selling e-book versions of newly released books for the Kindle electronic reading device. Amazon has been selling digital books for $9.95 in order to capture the market. Like with any new product there has been a drastic increase over the previous year, so this has gotten publishers all a twitter. No one wants to miss profiting off the latest fad, because no one knows if it really is a fad or something that will increase the amount of books sold in the industry.

This dramatic spike in Kindle sales at the widely-despised (within the industry) $9.95 price point has big publishers throughout the industry quietly discussing postponing the release of ebook versions of their frontlist hardcover fiction. It seems cooler heads are starting to prevail. Independent Sourcebooks is the first to score headlines for delaying an ebook release. The Wall Street Journal reports Sourcebooks will delay their ebook release of Kaleb Nation’s BRAN HAMBRIC: The Farfield Curse for at least six months. They plan a first printing release of 75,000-copies for September and agent Richard Curtis concurs with the decision: “We don’t want to undercut the sales and royalty potential of the printed hardcover.” Sourcebooks CEO Dominique Raccah says “hardcover books have an audience, and we shouldn’t cannibalize it,” adding “it doesn’t make sense for a new book to be valued at $9.99.”

Agent Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group says he doesn’t allow any of his authors’ books to be published simultaneously as an e-book when he can prevent it. He tells the Journal, “It’s no different then releasing a DVD on the same day that a new movie is released in the movie theaters. Why would you do that?”

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