HarperCollins has relaunched their US website and is selling books directly to consumers. The newly-designed site will be rolled out to UK next month and then expanding into Canada and Australia.
When it comes to selling digital content, Harpercollins is no stranger. The publisher sold eBooks directly via www.cslewis.com and www.narnia.com, which launched in October last year. They also launched the HarperCollins Reader, which allows readers to download and read the digital titles.
“We are excited to be able to offer an ecommerce solution to our authors, ensuring their books are always available to their fans,” said chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi in a statement. “As a publisher, we want to offer as many paths to the consumer as possible.”
Harpercollins is not just selling eBooks on their site with this relaunch, but they will be leveraging new technology to allow authors to sell directly. The publisher intends on approaching authors in their stable and giving them the ability to use embed codes in their websites, blogs and other online mediums.
The main premise of the Harpercollins initiative to sell all of their books directly on their site is to be less dependant on online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iBooks. Within the next year HC and Amazon will be signing a new contract and if the Hachette dispute has taught us anything, it can be a long, drawn out war.
HarperCollins is using a 3rd party fulfillment for their eBook sales, called Digital River. I find it quite odd that they elected not to use Adobe Content Server like Simon and Schuster did instead of paying a distributor or middle man.
I think selling books alongside digital content directly is a bigger deal than most people realize. A decade ago it would have been unheard of that a major publisher would circumvent the traditional brick and motor bookstore to sell online.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.