A new book out from HarperCollins is selling more copies of their e-book than they are of their print book. Is this a big deal?
I think so.
I think this shows the viral potential of digital books. You read a good book, send a link to a friend, and they can be reading it in minutes. Call it impulse shopping for books. How many times have you gone to a bookstore and forgotten the name of the book your friend recommend?
I also can’t help but think that this is exciting to publishers, at least the ones who are willing to adapt to a new model. From what I can gather, publishers make more money on an e-book than they do a print book.
However, this also puts them in an interesting dilema. If publishers push e-books, more people buy e-readers. If more people buy e-readers, more people will buy e-books (and possibly start reading more period). But if you have a large market buying e-readers and e-books from Amazon, the reader doesn’t have to go too far to find the self-published books that are often $5-10 less. And if the self-published authors have done their homework, and have gotten their work professionally edited/nice cover/etc., publishers may end up creating an environment that gives them competition.
I know you probably get tired of hearing me say this, but I think we’re in for some interesting times…