Crown Digital Embraces eBooks And Interactivity

Random House’s Crown Digital imprint is embracing the digital publishing landscape with interactive digital titles and a push into iPhone apps. Crown is also setting eBook prices equal to print editions.
“We want to have our content available where people want to read it whether that is a physical book or on some kind of device,” said Philip Patrick, Vice President & Publisher, Crown Digital.
For the first time, the publisher is launching iPhone apps as content for a couple of its popular titles. One app, which launches this week, is called the Zombie Scanner, which complements Max Brooks’ print book The Zombie Survival Guide. “We hope to use as a marketing tool to build out fan base for the book,” said Patrick.
On August 10th, Crown is releasing the eBook version of Shift from Heroes creator Tim Kring. The eBook includes bonus chapters, and the back story behind some of the book’s characters, locations and events.

The publisher has also put out eBook versions of some of its print cookbooks for authors including Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, Bobby Flay and Ina Garten. These will include interactive features such as video and rich media. “The digital world also opens up different concepts of functionality and what books can be and we are starting to experiment,” said Patrick. “With an eBook, all of a sudden, we can add new layers of content.”
For Crown digital eBook pricing matches up with the physical list price. For example, if a novel is $24.99, the eBook is $24.99. It is consistent with the lowest price, so if the publisher puts out a paperback version at $12.99, then the eBook will drop to $12.99. But, as Patrick points out, these prices sometimes drop at retail. “It is always up to the accounts on how they price our books,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what the format is.”