In what’s fast becoming a trend, HarperCollins announced yesterday that it too would delay the eBook release of frontlist books. This news follows hot on the heels of announcements from Simon & Schuster and Hachette, which eBookNewser reported on yesterday.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which conducted an interview with HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray, HarperCollins has a somewhat more ambitious plan for delaying its eBooks. The publisher will delay the eBook versions of five to ten new hardcovers each month beginning in January or February. The eBooks will be released from four weeks to six months after the hardcover publication.
Murray told the WSJ, “We’re going to experiment with this…Each new e-book represents a potential new marketing opportunity at a time when we need every possible hook to get consumer attention.” .
These announcements have been understandably sparking some controversy. James McQuivey, VP of Forrester Research, responds in Paid Content, noting that, “language like ‘We’re doing this to preserve our industry'”–which is how Hachette CEO David Young justified his company’s eBook delays–“is a classic symptom of what we at Forrester…call The Media Meltdown. I wrote a whole report on this ailment and its many symptoms, chief among them is that media businesses attempt to preserve analog business models in the digital economy, even when analog economics no longer apply. This is exactly that scenario.”