Two Major Publishers Delaying Ebook Versions of Popular Titles
The Wall Street Journalreports
that two major book publishers, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, are delaying ebook editions of leading titles by up to four months after the hardcover release date.
Simon & Schuster is delaying by four months the electronic-book editions of about 35 leading titles coming out early next year, taking a dramatic stand against the cut-rate $9.99 pricing of e-book best sellers.
A second publisher, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, said it has similar plans in the works.
"The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback," said Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS Corp. "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."
The efforts cap a tumultuous year for publishers as the industry begins a migration from traditional truck-and-bookshelf distribution to nearly simultaneous wireless delivery to consumers. It is also an acknowledgment that book pricing has become the most significant issue on the publishing landscape.
David Young, chief executive of the Hachette Book Group, said that Hachette, beginning in January or February, will delay the e-book publication of the vast majority of its titles for three to four months.
"We're doing this to preserve our industry," Mr. 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."
It remains to be seen if the two publishers will add all the rest of their titles to this delayed ebook list or if the other publishers will follow suit. If they do then ebooks will become the second version of a book, after the hardcover and before the paperback. But Kindle owners won't like it.