iPad and Me: Mark Coker of Smashwords

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Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, has high hopes for iPad, or at lest for the ways it is likely to bring new readers to eBooks and help publishers realign eBook pricing. Here’s what he told eBookNewser:

Any new device that introduces millions of new readers to ebooks is good news for authors and publishers. As a publisher and distributor of over 7,000 books, I see the iPad as a promising retail platform for the authors and publishers we represent.

Today at Digital Book World, it became clear large publishers are looking to Apple and others such as Google Editions to serve as counterbalances to Amazon’s dominance of the ebook retailing space. Yet what many publishers want – for customers to pay more for their books – is an unachievable pipe dream for most trade books.

Many publishers appreciate their ability to set prices in the iBooks store, yet this feature alone won’t unseat Amazon. If publishers set prices too high, their customers will go elsewhere. Most large publishers today will not lower their retail price to $9.99, yet Amazon has already made clear it’s willing to use that price point as a loss leader and make its profit with books at other price points.

Apple’s generous 70/30 revenue split to publishers, pre-empted by the same last week from Amazon to self-publishers, and already standard for Smashwords, sets new goal posts for publishers. Apple’s iPad/iBooks entry could spark a realignment to wholesale pricing models in 2010. Publishers will argue for lower wholesale discounts to other retailers, and retailers will argue for lower retail prices, and the end result will be lower priced ebooks for consumers.

iPad is certainly a big win for the IDPF and supporters of ePub.