Were publishers as hysterical about the paperback book as they've become about e-books?
Hardcover books have always been more expensive. There's more material there.
Readers who were watching their bottom lines developed the habit of waiting for the paperback edition of the latest hot read to come out. They'd save a few dollars, still get to read the exact same words, but they had to exercise patience.
Publishers reaped what they could from those who had to be the first on the block to read the latest blockbuster, then the cheap version was made available.
How is this any different from releasing a given book in a digital edition?
E-books are cheaper, as anyone would expect, because they don't require the expense of paper and ink to produce. Since they are so much like a paperback in that regard, why is there such a debate about when to release digital books?
It shouldn't be shocking news that Harper or Macmillan have decided to hold back on e-book releases. After all, it doesn't make business sense to compete against one's own product.
Harper ceo Brian Murray believes that relying on income from e-books, selling for $9.99, would trickle down to fewer new authors being given a trial run. Publishing houses need the extra profit from hardcovers to take a chance on unproven talent, and the bean counters who run publishing wouldn't put up with quite so much risk when there's not a great deal of spare change in the kitty.
There's all kinds of e-book readers coming out, and that will lead to lower prices down the line. Eventually, more people will own Nooks or Kindles or Sony e-readers or whatever the computer geeks invent, and everyone will be looking for a bargain when it comes to books.
It used to be the paperback. Now it's the e-book.
Hachette plans to hold off on releasing e-books, to give the hard bound copies a chance to sell at a higher profit.
Good business sense. And it shouldn't be shocking. It's not a reflection of dinosaur publishers clinging to old technology. Until the market dries up for hard copies, until the e-book proves to be more profitable, there's no reason to abandon one niche for another.