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"Ford County" to be released as a digital version?

"Ford County" to be released as a digital version?

No topic is more hotly debated in book circles at the moment than the timing, pricing and ultimate impact of e-books on the financial health of publishers and retailers. Publishers are grappling with e-book release dates partly because they are trying to understand how digital editions affect demand for hardcover books. A hardcover typically sells for anywhere from $25 to $35, while the most common price for an e-book has quickly become $9.99.

Until now John Grisham has not allowed any of his books to be released in electronic book form. But according to his agent, David Gernert, Mr. Grisham has not resolved how his publisher, Doubleday, should release a digital version of “Ford County,” a short story collection set for hardcover release on Nov. 3.

Stuart Applebaum, a spokesman for Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer books and the parent company of Knopf Doubleday, said that the company’s standard approach was to release e-books on the same day that a hardcover is published.

But, he said, “we do have discussions periodically about either delaying or accelerating the e-book edition” on a book-by-book basis. Imprints of Random House, in fact, have committed to releasing digital versions on the same day as the hardcovers for upcoming titles from John Irving, E. L. Doctorow and Jon Krakauer.


  • July 19, 2009 at 10:41 PM Katrina

    It doesn’t make sense to me that e-reader and paper versions would be released separately. People who have made the leap to electronic reading aren’t going to buy the paper version and those who haven’t made the leap aren’t likely to run out and buy an e-reader just to purchase the book at a lower price. The e-readers are still too expensive for that. There doesn’t seem to be much (if any) cannibalization. By releasing them simultaneously, the author/publishers could reach both markets and realize revenues that much quicker. To me, they seem like two separate and distinct target markets.

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