updated 04:05 pm EST, Fri December 11, 2009
HarperCollins joins others in delaying e-books
HarperCollins is the latest publishing house to announce it will delay the release of new electronic books in order to give their hardcover counterparts more time on the shelves and to ensure the longevity of the book industry in general. The chief executive of HarperCollins, Brian Murray, said the delays will start in January or February and involve the delay of five to 10 new hardcover titles each month. Depending on the book, the delay could range from four weeks to six months.
Murray said that if e-book versions of new hardcovers continue to be sold for $10 at launch, this will eventually mean there are fewer books written, as new authors will find it harder to get published. Put simply, many in the industry believe delaying digital versions of a book will increase sales of their physical counterparts. The e-books are often more than half the price of physical books, making them attractive, though this also means they are less likely to be read by multiple individuals.
However, Consumer Media Technology analyst James McQuivey believes withholding digital content from the public can backfire, and encourage e-book readers to buy from a competitor and promote piracy. McQuivey compares this to the high rate of piracy in the music industry, and believes the e-book industry could be hit by the problem next year.
HarperCollins' Murray added he is interested in offering enhanced e-books that have social-media applications, video and author interviews.
Simon & Schuster said this week it will delay the release of 35 titles by four months before going digital with Hachette Book Group making a similar move. [via WSJ]