Thursday, October 01, 2009

Will HarperCollins Marketing Tactic Tick Off Amazon?

HarperCollins is set to try something different with the release of Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rougue: An American Life. Rather than release the hardcover and the e-book at the same time, HarperCollins has elected to hold off on its e-book release until December 26 (one day after all that Christmas shopping is all done).

It is beginning to look like publishers still don't know how much the profits from the sale of e-books are offset by the predictable drop in hardcover sales. The companies have tried various strategies in recent weeks. On the one hand, Dan Brown's latest poorly written book, The Lost Symbol, saw a simultaneous release of both versions, and both the hardcover and the e-book sold in predictably spectacular numbers. And, on the other hand, Ted Kennedy's True Compass is only available in hardcover - with, at least for now, no plan to release the book in e-book format.

The approach taken by HarperCollins is somewhere in the middle, and by holding the e-book version off until after Christmas, the publisher hopes to maximize the sale of hardcover volumes. I doubt that Amazon and Sony are happy with the way the Kennedy and Palin books are being marketed, but this may be the only way for publishers to fight the $9.99 e-book price of which Amazon seems to be so fond.

Personally, I'm not in the least interested in any of the three books, but I do wonder what e-book fans think about the decision to limit their e-book access to the two political books. Any thoughts?


  1. For me a book needs to have pages and paper and smell like a book. I am 40-year old fuddy duddy who wants my fiction the old fashioned way.

    And as for political bios all of those "books" that politicians write when they are thinking of running for higher office...they depress me a bit and I don't even read them.

  2. Thomas, I hear you on both counts. I still much prefer to be holding paper rather than plastic when I'm reading a book.

    Political bios are pretty much garbage and seldom even written by the person whose name is on the cover...worthless propaganda in every sense of the word, including Palin's and Kennedy's.

  3. It's really a shame that the publishers are going this route. Especially with these books I think that it will result in lost sales.

    The only reason the general public buy these type of books is "to get to the juicy" tidbits. So by the time the eBooks roll out, all of the media will have revealed any eyebrow-raising info. So no one will buy the digital versions.

    Now, imagine having a $9.99 version of the book that, within seconds, could be delivered to a curious reader on the day the book releases...

    Consumers of these type books and celebrity news will pay for instant gratification.

    My two cents.

  4. Those are great points, Trav. This kind of book is exactly what you describe and once all the juicy stuff is leaked, sales will nosedive. That does make me wonder if there will be much of an e-book market for Palin come January.