Evan Schnittman, head of Global Business Development at Oxford University Press, opened his personal website yesterday with an evocative first post: “Why Ebooks Must Fail.”
While calling the current publishing model a “Ponzi scheme,” Schnittman outlined how stand-alone ebooks could quickly sink the industry. He explained how digital copies currently sell at least 50 percent discount from the cover price, upending a manufacturing and pricing structure that has stood for the last century.
Here’s an excerpt: “How do ebooks cover the huge advances needed to buy books if we cannot generate the cash, especially at their extremely low, discounted prices, cover the advances that an entire industry has come to require? The answer is that ebooks, alone, cannot … It means that the need for blended e plus p models will evolve, in order to take advantage of all the great qualities of ebooks, while providing the financial support and structure that print offers. It means that consumer ebooks, as a stand-alone version of an intellectual property, must fail.”