A company called BoXette is doing exactly what its name implies- creating and marketing "boxed sets" of classics in e-book format via brick-and-mortar bookstores across the U.K. The book collections are packaged inside special book-size presentation boxes containing a "USB card" formatted in both the epub and Kindle formats. Also in the box, is what is said to be an "insightful" illustrated booklet highlighting the author of the collection being sold. The company's first offering is the Charles Dickens collection comprised of all twenty Dickens novels.
This first offering is already available for ordering online or purchasing directly in various U.K. bookstores at a price of twenty pounds, about thirty U.S. dollars. Whether book buyers are willing to pay approximately $1.50 per title for classics that can be legally downloaded free already, remains to be seen. Perhaps the double-formatting and ease of directly plugging a "Dickens collection" into an e-reader will be enough added value to make this work...perhaps not.
For now, the company seems to be concentrating on royalty-free books (with Sherlock Holmes, H.G. Wells, and Beatrix Potter collections up next), but it promises multi-media-enhanced books and books from more contemporary writers in the future.
I suspect that many bookstores will be quick to accept the BoXette product because it gives them the opportunity to sell a few e-books they would otherwise never move. This doesn't exactly turn them into competition for Barnes & Noble or Amazon, but it can't hurt.
While I realize it is too soon to know if this will work out in Europe, do you think something like this would work in this country?