GoodEReader reported last year how a major publisher, Workman’s Algonquin imprint, was experimenting with ebook bundling as a means to get readers into the bookstores and away from the ease of making their purchases from online retail booksellers. Several independent booksellers were instrumental in providing the digital editions of When She Wokeby Hilary Jordan when customers came into the store to purchase the print edition. At the time, both Algonquin and the author told GoodEReader that they felt it was a worthy experiment in providing customers with both editions for their consumer dollars.
Now, more publishers are taking an interest in possibly following suit. According to an article for Publisher’s Weekly by Rachel Deahl, several publishers and retailers have concerns over the issue. Neither Amazon nor Barnes&Noble would comment on whether bundling was feasible, and still other Big Six publishers expressed concerns over such things as how author royalties are paid out since print pays at one rate and digital royalties pay out at another.
But the experiment with Jordan’s book had its own issues, not the least of which was how readers actually received their ebooks. The receipt of the digital editions depended entirely on where the consumers purchased their print books, as it was the booksellers who were making the digital edition available. If customers shopped an independent bookstore, they went through IndieBound.com to receive their free book and had to transfer it to their devices manually.
Deahl did point out in the article that this could end up being a potential gold mine for small to mid-sized publishers and indie publishers, especially if they are able to offer something to the consumers that larger publishing houses aren’t set up to do. With so many readers now making purchases in both paper and electronic, it’s an experiment worth trying.