Posts Tagged ‘exploding heads’

Dear Publishers, Please don’t Say FU to eBook Readers (Rant Alert!)

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

This PW Article titled “The Amazon Workaround” sounded interesting. It has this nugget:

Windowing—offering print books for a period of time before e-books go on sale—while enticing is seen as impractical since it is unlikely that publishers will return to a practice they have already given up. Moreover, there is some thinking that publishers could start charging a premium to customers for e-books before the print book is released, something a sizable portion of consumers said they would like.


  • Windowing has been abandoned (really?)
  • Charging a premium for eBooks prior to print release.
  • customers said they would like to pay a premium?


  1. I don’t think windowing has been abandoned.
  2. Charging a premium prior to print release? Isn’t that just a flavor of windowing, only with a fuck you, eBook consumer thrown in for free?
  3. I’m hard pressed to imagine consumers agreeing to pay a premium for something that should be a normal business process. What the heck kind of question did they ask in order to get people to say yes?

Oh, my god, that article is one big fat hot mess. Extend Agency Pricing when publishers are already under international investigation for the practice? Cheaper books are bad if Amazon becomes the only seller of books?

Here’s my take on this observation from Teleread about different reading pools for print vs. Ebook: I think the conclusion is descriptive and completely misses a pretty obvious cause. Sure, eBook bestsellers include DIY published books — because

  1. Those books aren’t available anywhere else and
  2. eBook readers know that the digital price of traditionally published books is a rip-off and they’re voting on that price with their eReaders.

Here’s my suggestion for publishers:

  • Try actual competition instead of protectionism.
  • Go talk to your legal departments about getting out of whatever contracts prevent you from selling books wherever consumers are.
  • Spend more time thinking about how to sell more books regardless of format, because, actually, your product is not the container. Your product is the content.

What do you think? I am wrong about windowing? What else have I missed?