From an article in the Wall Street Journal:

Simon & Schuster is delaying by four months the electronic-book editions of about 35 leading titles coming out early next year, taking a dramatic stand against the cut-rate $9.99 pricing of e-book best sellers.

A second publisher, Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group, said it has similar plans in the works.

"The right place for the e-book is after the hardcover but before the paperback," said Carolyn Reidy, CEO of Simon & Schuster
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The article is here.

I don't know much about book marketing, but this seems wrong to me. I would like to see every version of a book available at the same time - give the customers the choice.

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How long will it be before ebook publishers have the brainstorm to publish e-original content, like paperback originals were in the late 1940s? That'll show the big publishers!
You need to check out Fictionwise.com to see that. Plenty of e-original content out there from ebook publisher.
Here's another article on the subject: http://booksquare.com/a-long-detailed-look-at-distribution-windows/.

I like this line: "Has there ever been an industry more unwilling to make its customers happy than publishing?"
I can only assume that the profits on the print versions are much bigger.

By the way, you may add to this that Amazon has announced very quietly that it will lower its Kindle book prices to 7.99. This may only affect the bestsellers in question. The publishers are only holding back selected titles.
YEs, that looks like where it is now.

One of the people commenting on the WSJ article said that with a hardcover they feel fine about lending to lots of people but if e-books were cheap enough they'd xpect people to just buy their own.

I don't know how much of the $7.99 returns to the publisher, but again as we've said, if you take out the cost of returns it might be very close to the amount returned to the publisher for every hardcover sold.

$7.99 is a couple of bucks more than a latte - I wouldn't think twice about buying a book that's just come out for $7.99. It would even be worth that not to wait the two months or so I have to wait for a new book from the library. It's possible that instead of selling 20 hardcovers to the Toronto library system as I do now, I'd sell fifty or more e-books.

Lots of changing coming to this industry, for sure.
Remember that the 9.99 was a loss leader for Amazon. I assume the 7.99 is the same. In other words, the publisher probably gets quite a bit more.

One can only hope that the e-book war will jar them out of their pathetic return policies.
Makes perfect sense to me. There's no advantage for them--or us--in releasing several competing formats all at once. Let the HC run its course, then do Kindle, then paper.
I don't know, Jon, I don't see any advantage in holding back product that customers may want to buy now but not later. I think for many people these days by the time a paperback comes out it's old news.

In the UK many books are available in hardcover and trade paper at the same time. They don't think there's much overlap in markets.

By the time the hardcover hs "run its course," the book may have run its course.
The UK model describes my habits pretty well. Almost all of the hardcovers I get in a year are either review copies, or gifts. Virtually all of the books I buy are paperbacks, which teds to keep me a year or two behind most authors' production. I can live with that; the story and writing don't change. I'd rather have three paperbacks to read than one hardcover.
The prevailing publishing analogy is to the music industry, but this sounds more like they're trying to duplicate the movie model:

Hard Cover (Theater)
e-Book (DVD)
Paperback (Cable TV)
Yes, Dana, that looks like the right comparison, though I've never heard it before.
They're afraid ebooks are stealing sales from the more expensive to produce hardbacks. I think they're different markets, but the big publishers haven't figured out how to fit this properly into their business models. Hopefully they won't end up shooting themselves in the foot.

On the other hand, I can understand how nervous they must be watching Amazon cut the prices on the ebooks. Right now, Amazon's giving publishers the same amount that they would have gotten for a regular-priced book, but eventually Amazon's going to want to give the publishers less for the books, and on the current business model, they can't sustain that.

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