Book Publishers Fight the Inevitable

From the New York Times:

Last week, a host of book publishers, led by Simon & Schuster, said they will delay publication of e-reader versions of many books because they were afraid the electronic copies were cannibalizing sales of more expensive hardcover editions …

Publishers are understandably worried about their changing business model, as they face new pressures from authors as well as readers. But do they really believe that they will boost their bottom lines by making it harder for these devoted readers to buy books?

The consumer understands that digital means immediate and infinite, and the limits imposed by paper no longer exist. As Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey Bezos, noted in a recent interview with The New York Times, “For every 100 copies of a physical book we sell, where we have the Kindle edition, we will sell 48 copies of the Kindle edition. It won’t be too long before we’re selling more electronic books than we are physical books.”

Yet some publishers are trying to do everything they can to look the other way and pretend the new products and delivery pathways haven’t changed old business models.

Read the entire article.

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