Random House is releasing the e-book version of one of their books before the print version. While I’m sure this has been done before, it’s nice to see one of the larger publishing companies try it out. Many of the big houses have been doing just the opposite–holding back the eBook until months after the hard cover release (clinging to the old model).
I’m interested to see the results of such a move. There are two trains of thought around such a strategy. One is that people will buy the e-book first, meaning they have no need to buy the hardcover. People who hold to this notion argue eBook negatively affect sales.
The second train of thought is e-books sales will act as a type of marketing for the book. The eBook will generate a healthy buzz which will positively affect sales.
As a fan of the Open Model (which I still haven’t discussed on this blog, but promise to very soon), I fall in the latter camp. I believe as long as the book is good, getting an electronic version out early can help the sales of the print version.