In a previous post, I mentioned Michael Hyatt’s article about why ebook sales will increase at a slower rate than digital music sales did. But there is a reason why they might increase faster. There’s no question that an mp3 has greater functionality and convenience than a CD. However, when you buy a CD, you’re not choosing between the two; either way, you get the digital file. You’re simply deciding whether you also want a physical copy. However, when you’re deciding between buying an ebook or a hardcover, you’re choosing to not get one of the formats. Unless you pay twice.
One blogger addresses this issue. He talks about buying a hardcover to support the publishing industry and the frustration of having to pay almost the same amount again to be able to have the book on his ereader. But since, unlike music CDs, digital content isn’t inherently available in physical books, he suggests publishers follow the model of the film industry. Blu-ray discs are now commonly packaged together with DVDs. The price point of these is higher than the Blu-ray alone, but is cheaper than buying each format separately. He suggests releasing hardcover/ebook “combo packs” that are $5 more than the hardcover alone.
For a publisher, this would be a good way to increase hardcover sales (and paperback, as well, if the combo deal is made available in this format). And it could be done using Enthrill Entertainment‘s new ebook cards that I talked about in my last post. They could be packaged with some copies of hardcovers. Those who simply want an ebook can get that, those who only want hardcover can get that, but those, like me, who would want both, now wouldn’t have to pay twice the price for one book. I hope this is the path publishers choose to take.