Interesting Timing By S&S+Hachette

The same week that Nook “launches”–or at least, gets a few demos into stores, and some glowing reviews that don’t actually experience any of the bragged-about-features–and Sony’s finally got its new format, maybe, Hachette and S&S have turned around and said, oh, we’re waiting to issue the ebooks, at least for anticipated hits.

I don’t, obviously, agree with the “need” for high prices on ebooks voiced by the largest publishers–most of what I offer is $1, then there’s some original novellas that are selling at $2.50, Kindle store + direct, others that do OK at $5, and, Silk’s sales actually increased when I bumped the price up to $7.95, or 800%, for a few titles–though not as much as when I finally got stuff spelled right on the homepage of that particular imprint*.

But if you visit these little publisher gatherings, like the ones at BEA, where they talk about pricing, you realize how much is riding on the $25 hardcover bestseller.  And how deathly, deathly afraid of the $9.99 ebook major publishing folks are.

To reiterate: not my problem.  Despite its notorious  recurring revenue stream, the name Disruptive Publishing relates more to examples set by NuCorp or Southwest Airlines than to Lyle Stuart’s Anarchist Cookbook.  I may be amused, but I don’t care how much the big guys charge, or when they release.

Nor do I think piracy is that much of a risk in the Kindle Nation.  Since the product’s launch and initial inventory shortfalls, Kindle users have been some of the very best book buyers in the country, who prior to Kindle spent more on printed matter than anybody else in the land, and with their Kindles were wirelessly empowered to, you know, buy more. Their behavior is shaping sales. Amazon has made it very easy for them not to steal… and not to buy S&S or Hachette titles either.  That’s how Jeff rolls.

Sony’s customer base is far more likely to sideload from darknet.  Some of the paid internet astroturfers even offered “hackability” as an incentive for epub.  And what most surprises me about this announcement is that Hachette/S&S didn’t do the obvious: state that their ebooks will only be available direct from Sony’s store–and/or B&N’s store–at full hardcover price, for the first four months.

The fact that the big publishers didn’t take this option, rejected it fully during the week when vapor finally evaporated from the “challengers”–gives you all you need to know about what big publishing really thinks of sales figures and projections and promises and “open-ness” and wireless sorta from Sony + B&N, as compared to Amazon’s ever-increasing monthly checks.

*See, in the WYSIWYG admin for Silk, there’s something where you can “modify hompage”–and then it would say, “Your changes have been saved”–but, the WYSIWYG was lying.  Ehh, content is what I like to do, but, it’s not a channel you can stuff, really.

About dmoynihan

Me here.
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