Brick-and-mortar booksellers have been wringing their hands ever since the first e-readers appeared. At least, those who didn’t dismiss ebooks as a flash-in-the-pan fad. But as more and more companies announce higher profits in their digital content divisions and staggering ebook sales cross almost every genre, book stores—both major chains and small town locations—are having to look for more ways to stay afloat.
One creative idea has come out of the need to drive customers back into the bookstore. Algonquin, an imprint of Workman Publishing, is offering customers a discount towards the purchase of an ebook for each of its trade paperbacks purchased at more than 300 Barnes and Noble locations throughout the month of July. When customers choose a paperback from a list of twelve different qualifying titles, they will be given the opportunity to purchase any ebook from a list of twelve different titles at the reduced price of three dollars. Later this year, the publisher will begin offering a free digital copy of some books with the purchase of the hard cover edition from a wide variety of chain and independent book stores, starting with the new release When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.
Although it might seem redundant to own two versions of the same book, there are benefits to owning both the e-copy and the print version. The film industry found this to be a popular incentive when they began offering digital downloads of movies with the purchase of the DVD version; now, that same portability is finding its way to books. More importantly, many reading consumers didn’t see the need to have to purchase different formats of the same book, and with incentives like that of Algonquin’s, they may no longer have to choose.