The WSJ reports this morning that Simon & Schuster and Hachette are going to delay the release of their top selling new books.
"The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback," said Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster, which is owned by CBS Corp. "We believe some people will be disappointed. But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."
Wow, it is hard to imagine a more clear repetition of bad business decisions and lessons not learned from others in the media industry. The genie can’t go back in the bottle, it simply doesn’t work. For a contrary view:
"In the Internet age you don’t enjoy the same degree of control," said Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, LLC, an online media measurement company in Beverly Hills, Calif. "You can’t create artificial scarcity by withholding content in one form and making it available later."
The fundamental question is pretty simple, if you think long term, are digital readers better for the industry overall? As in, over time will volume go up compared to print only sales? It certainly seems the answer is yes, which means the publishers are making short term profit decisions that will kill them over time. And seriously, seeing a publisher moan about protecting authors is a hoot as the guy from Hachette does here, “I can’t sit back and watch years of building authors sold off at bargain-basement prices. It’s about the future of the business.” Almost as good as the music industry talking about how they are “protecting” bands. Sheesh.