11:40 AM Major publishers refuse to release e-books at the same time as their hardcover counterparts

December 9, 2009

2 Min Read
E-Books Delayed

11:40 AM -- Two book publishers, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group, have decided to delay the release of e-book versions of many 2010 titles, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Simon & Schuster will release e-books of 35 titles coming out in early 2010 -- such as Karl Rove's memoir and Jodi Piccoult's House Rules -- four months after the hardcover release, and Hachette has similar plans. The publishers are hoping to fight the price cuts that often come with e-books (for example, Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) sells all best-selling e-books for $9.99).

"The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback," Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy told WSJ. "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."

"We're doing this to preserve our industry," Hachette Chief David Young said. "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."

However, a spokesman for Amazon had this response: "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."

In other news:

  • Facebook today began telling all 350 million of its users to update their privacy settings, as it rolls out a new system. Under the new system, Facebook is simplifying privacy controls and allowing users to control the privacy settings on individual pieces of content, such as a status update. However, to compete with Twitter in getting the attention of search engines, Facebook is also requiring some user information -- name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks you belong to, friend lists, and pages you're a fan of -- to be public.

  • Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) CEO Jeff Bewkes said yesterday at an investors conference that he's confident about the success of the TV Everywhere initiative, which will allow Time Warner customers to watch cable programming on their PCs, and that he believes consumers will pay for content.

    "It’s starting to be pretty clear that there is a willingness to pay for quality content," Bewkes said. "If you look at some of the more successful Internet versions -- iPhones, iTunes, iStore, Amazon -- people will pay for quality and convenience. It has to be a fair deal, though."

    — Erin Barker, Digital Content Reporter, Cable Digital News

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