Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Under the Dome" - staggered release

Waaahhhh! This is one I don't understand.... staggered release. What's that all about? Hardcover released on one date, e-book a few weeks later.
[Edited to add Under the Dome paperback edition will be released July 6, 2010]

Stephen King posted on his site a few days ago
Dear Constant Readers,
Please don't believe the press reports that the e-book reader price for Under the Dome will be $35. This was the result of confusion from a press release from the publisher, what Big Jim Rennie would call a clustermug. It is true that you cannot order the book as an e-download until December 24th, but the physical book, which is a beautiful thing, you can pre-order for less than $9--so who's better than us?

So, on the one hand - good news. It won't be $35 (although how much will it be?). On the other - December 24th will be the release date. Seriously? Seriously?? November 10th has been on my calender for MONTHS! Why are eReaders being left out?

I'm aware that Sai King likes his Kindle, with his short story UR being only available in a Kindle edition when released (now also available in audio) - so why this? Are some publishers treating it like a later paperback release, hoping to get the HB sales first? I find this an odd strategy because, other than really die-hard fans, most Kindleers & e-book fans, will wait for the e-book release regardless, perhaps even more so that those who wait for the paperback. We've simply become too attached to reading them in e-book format.

Book sales in brick & mortar stores? Well that could be an argument for the independent book sellers, but I don't believe a simultaneous release would have a great impact on them. Ebook readers are still heavily in the minority, many will simply wait for the Kindle edition & of them, what proportion would have been buying in an independent bookstore? Of all the book buyers out there, that's a small number I'm sure. And with a pre-order price of only $9 for the hardcover, I'm still struggling to see how this minority group of eReaders could negatively impact sales or profit.

I'm very interested to hear the publishers side on this decision. Unless they believe that the die hard King fan will end up with both copies anyway. And in all honesty, I might end up doing that anyway. If I'm going to boycott these silly publishing decisions, I might not be strong-willed enough to start with a much-awaited King book. Maybe that's really what they are counting on.

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