In light of the news that HarperCollins is negotiating with Apple to provide enhanced content for the tablet, Marion Maneker over at Slate asks some useful questions about whether the Apple tablet will help publishers pull eBooks up out of the $9.99 price point they so despise. The Wall Street Journal reported that HarperCollins’ tablet eBooks would have “added features” to justify a higher price that HarperCollins will set. This won’t solve the problem according to Maneker:
Why publishers think anyone will pay more for a book with added non-book material is a mystery. For years they’ve offered illustrated, expanded and commemorative editions of successful books. But those only sell small numbers. And the anger readers express toward the publishers who hold out on Kindle editions won’t be mollified by paying more for author interviews and other “features.”
Remember Apple recently made a similar move with music, introducing the iTunes LP format with the release of iTunes 9 in September. The LP format is a version of the downloadable album with extra content–videos, interviews, online stuff. While the format got rave reviews from bloggers, it’s hardly become the new standard, and the same thing is likely to happen with enhanced eBooks.
What do you think about this? Do readers want books that do things, or do readers really just want to read, whether on a page or a screen?