You don't have to read industry publications to realize eBooks are booming, but Publisher's Weekly has a timely story today (see below) that makes it obvious that publishers should release as many new and backlist books as eBooks as possible -- just as trade paperback reprints exploded in the 1980s.
Although there are high upfront costs to making eBooks from books older than 10-15 years (because the original printing was from film and must be converted to digital files not just to a Kindle or Nook format), it is penny wise and pound foolish not to reissue eBooks, especially of authors who have new books just out, whether they are popular novelists or important scholars.
Where necessary eBook prices could be higher than the average for the initial releases, and Foundations should subsidize academic eBook reissues from non-profits, especially University Presses. If Apple is serious about reaching out to the education market, they should also make it as easy as possible for non-profits to put their books into the iBookstore, regardless of commercial "agency" model issues. Reader on the iPad and iPod Touch will be more than a cool trend ONLY if the iBookstore increases it's inventory. Likewise, Kindle and Nook should discount university press conversions, so that every eBook can be bought from any online eBook retailer that sells the printed book, whether B&N or Amazon.
Readers need a choice of formats and, yes, they don't want to wait a long time for the eBook in order to be "forced" to buy an exclusive hardcover. That's a way to lose readers not gain profits in today's fast moving eBook world.
link to PW here
E-book Sales Jump 172% in August
While sales in the print trade segments shrank in August, e-book sales had another strong month, jumping 172.4%, to $39 million, according to the 14 publishers that report sales to the AAP's monthly sales estimates. For the year-to-date, e-book sales were up 192.9%, to $263 million. AAP said that of the approximately 19 publishers that report trade sales, revenue in the January to August period was $2.91 billion, making the $263 million e-book sales 9.0% of trade sales. At the end of 2009, e-book sales comprised 3.3% of trade sales. The mass market segment, where sales were down 14.3% in the first eight months of 2009, represented 15.1% of trade sales through August. more... link to PW here