At a recent meeting of the Women’s Media Group in New York, Madeline Mcintosh, Amazon.com’s former Director of Kindle Content Acquisition for Europe and current President of Sales, Operations and Digital at Random House discussed the industry practice of windowing, which is a philosophy of delaying the e-book edition of a big book under the theory that the lower priced e-book might siphon off sales from the higher priced and of course, higher profit margin, hardcover book. Mcintosh expressed both her personal opinion and that of her employer, Random House, when saying that she believes publishers have an obligation to both the reader and the author to produce their work in multiple formats simultaneously so the the reader has his or her choice of content delivery. Mcintosh went on to comment about online piracy and the growing threat it poses if publishers do not create a strategy for delivering the content users want in the format they chose, all in a timely fashion.
This stance seems to be supported by the recent massive survey conducted by Verso Digital, presented this week at Digital Book World by Verso Digital Business Development Director, Jack McKeown. As reported by MediaBistro’s GalleyCat columnist Jason Boog, the Verso Digital survey reveals that heavy online readers consume their media in multiple formats and that e-book readers also purchase print versions of books regularly. The Verso survey also touched on price sensitivity and the fact that consumers have been trained by Amazon.com to expect e-books to be priced in the $10.00 range. One encouraging note for publishers, however, was that a significant percentage of survey respondents said they would be open to a price point in the $10-$18 dollar range based on the book.
As Apple prepares to enter the e-reader market with the iPAD and Samsung’s Papyrus joins the Barnes & Noble Nook, the Amazon Kindle, the Sony e-reader and other producers, more consumers will flock to digital books. This is good news for writers, good news for readers and ultimately, with a well thought out strategy, good for publishers.
How do you like to read books? We’d love to hear your experiences, predictions and ideas.