I know Jane wrote about the issue of publishers delaying eBook publication, but now that Simon & Schuster and Hachette have officially jumped on the creaky bandwagon, I feel that it bears more discussion. Or maybe just a short rant by yours truly. It makes no sense, people! You could argue till you’re blue in the face that this move is going to result in more book sales and I won’t be convinced. As the26thstory blogged today, there’s no evidence that someone who’s committed to their Kindle, Nook, or eReader is going to plop down $25 for the hardcover instead of waiting for the eBook.
Sure, those of us who love the heft and weight of a hardcover (or even paperback) book and feel that holding one in our hands instead of an electronic tablet enhances the reading experience and who actually can’t wait another second to read an author’s work, will buy the hardcover. Then, there are all those college kids and young adults who love books but are financially strapped. That’s an audience that’s been mostly ignored by publishing folks for years because, wait for it, they don’t buy books. In my view, that’s also a market that grew up with iPods, MacBooks, and all their electronic offspring and who are less needful of the smell of paper and binding glue to enjoy a good story well told. And, there are all those moms at book clubs across the country who need to save money wherever they can and who might buy that $9.99 eBook instead of waiting patiently for their local library to have it available but who’ll never plop down the $25.
As far as I’m concerned, this new development is nothing more than publishers running scared. Instead of embracing the eBook revolution and figuring out how to make money off their product in all possible formats at a time when the market is in the midst of tectonic shifts, their solution is to clamp down on availability of that product. Seems just plain silly.
Your vehement opposition to my viewpoint is most welcome.