Publishers Try Bundling Print and E-Books
This New York Times story entitled “Of Two Minds About Books” is ostensibly about different reading formats, but it illustrates the dilemma that many publishers, and thus many authors, are facing.
According to the article by Matt Richtel and Claire Cain Miller, 10.3 million people will own e-readers this year, compared with 3.7 million last year, and they will buy 100 million e-books, compared with 30 million last year.
In order to satisfy both types of consumers — those who want their books in an electronic format and those who prefer the traditional version — some publishers and booksellers are bundling print books and e-books at a discount. For example, religious book publisher Thomas Nelson (whose chairman and CEO Michael Hyatt has a blog that I highly recommend and that is included on the blogroll at left) has started to offer free e-books with with a print book for some titles.
And here is the dilemma I referred to in the first paragraph:
This straddle-the-line marketing underscores a deeper tension: the desire to keep the print business alive so as not to alienate a core market, while establishing a base for a future that publishers see as increasingly digital, said James L. McQuivey, an e-reader industry analyst with Forrester [Research].
I think the bundling approach will be increasingly popular, at least for the foreseeable future, because it satisfies both the print and electronic constituencies. But as newer and better e-readers appear on the market, e-book sales look to increase exponentially.