Thursday, July 16, 2009

A New World: Scheduling E-Books
Published: July 14, 2009 - The New York Times.
Dan Brown’s fans have waited six long years for “The Lost Symbol,” his follow-up to the megablockbuster novel “The Da Vinci Code” that is being published in hardcover on Sept. 15.

Will those who want to read it in e-book form wait a little longer?
It is a question that Mr. Brown’s publisher, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, is weighing as it plans the rollout of what it hopes will be a book-selling sensation. The publisher has announced a first hardcover run of five million copies, but Suzanne Herz, a spokeswoman for Knopf Doubleday, said the publisher had not decided when to release an electronic version.
Other publishers are mulling release dates for fall titles. Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, said it had not set a date for the e-book edition of “True Compass,” the memoir by Senator Edward M. Kennedy that is being released in hardcover on Oct. 6. Twelve has announced a first print run of 1.5 million copies.
No topic is more hotly debated in book circles at the moment than the timing, pricing and ultimate impact of e-books on the financial health of publishers and retailers. Publishers are grappling with e-book release dates partly because they are trying to understand how digital editions affect demand for hardcover books. A hardcover typically sells for anywhere from $25 to $35, while the most common price for an e-book has quickly become $9.99., which sells electronic editions for its Kindle device, has effectively made $9.99 the de facto price for most best sellers, a price that publishers believe will reduce their profit margins over time. Barnes & Noble, through its Fictionwise arm, also sells best sellers in e-book form, for $9.95.
Ms. Herz said that Doubleday was primarily worried about the security of Mr. Brown’s book, which is being kept under a strict embargo until the Sept. 15 publication date. But she acknowledged that the e-book’s possible effect on hardcover sales was also an issue, among others.
Similarly, Stephen King, whose novel “Under the Dome” is being published in November by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, said in an e-mail message that “we’re all thinking and talking about electronic publishing and how to deal with these issues,” adding, “but I can’t say anything right now.”
For the full, and most intetresting piece, link here to NYT.

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