BookExpo Mailbag: What’s the e-Book’s Market Function?

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By Neal Comments

“I found the interaction between two of your posts [last week] interesting,” writes Aaron Hierholzer of the Greenleaf Book Group. “The report on the Publishing 2.0 model panel and the Kindle‘s nonexistent profit margins highlighted part of the problem e-books face before they take root: there’s no consensus on what their main role is.”

“Are they best as a tool to spur print sales (as Derek Powazek suggests),” Hierholzer asks, “or are they the final, standalone product, worthy of a purchase (as Amazon.com presumably hopes)? In the NYT piece, Amazon claims that people buy the same amount of print books even as they buy more e-books; is the suggestion that they buy both e-book and ‘p-book’ versions of the same title? If not (this seems rather prodigal to me), how do they decide which books to buy in which version?”

Good questions! Anybody care to venture an observation?