Barnes & Noble to Bundle Print and eBooks

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Barnes & Noble is planning to begin bundling print and eBook editions of books in the next two or three months, said Barnes & Noble.com president William Lynch at the AAP meeting earlier this week, according to Publishers Weekly. Customers who buy the print edition of a book will have the option to get the digital version of the same book at a discounted price. PW reports that bundle pricing will be worked out with individual publishers.

This is similar to something the music industry does, especially with vinyl releases of new albums, which are popular, and which often include a coupon for a free download of a digital version of the album. It’s also in line with the commitment of device makers–such as Amazon–to make content available across multiple screens and devices (does a print book count as a screen or a device?): if the Kindle app lets you read your Kindle books when you don’t have your kindle but do have your smartphone, a print/eBook bundle offers the chance to read a good old fashioned paper book when you don’t feel like holding something with a battery. Plus, it looks nicer on your shelf.

This would also seem like a good way to foster a transition toward digital content for customers without losing print sales. Probably, too, Barnes & Noble hopes it will sell a few more Nooks.