E-Books Are To Hardcovers As DVDs Are To Theatrical Releases

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Sourcebooks, a leading independent publisher, will not release a big upcoming title in e-book format until six months after its hardcover debut, The WSJ reports.

In the past, Sourcebooks has released digital formats of its books along with the print copies. But it will make digital copies of “Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse” available only six months after the book’s print version goes on sale in September.

Publishers make a hefty margin of $2.15 per e-book — 8X the 26 cents they get for a digital copy. The analogue to digital cut is even deeper when it comes to hardcovers.

“It doesn’t make sense for a new book to be valued at $9.99,” Dominique Raccah, CEO of Sourcebooks, told the WSJ.

“The argument is that the cheaper the book is, the more people will buy it. But hardcover books have an audience, and we shouldn’t cannibalise it.”

Currently e-books account for 1% to 2% of total book sales, but this will grow in the next six months when the number of digital readers will increase to 3 million, a Forrester analyst told the WSJ.

Robert Gottlieb, chairman of Trident Media Group LLC, says releasing the digital copy of a book along with the print version is like releasing the DVD version of a movie the same day its out in theatres.

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