For book publishers, there is no longer a print versus electronic argument. Smart publishers offer a balanced mix and realize the value of providing their content in a variety of formats. The eBook is now a recognized standard form factor along with hardcover and paperback. However, practically since the dawn of eBooks, readers have been clamoring for a way to buy a print and electronic bundle of the titles they purchase.
Bundling print and eBooks has become increasingly popular as a way to deliver added value to readers. The idea isn’t brand spanking new, as many book sellers have tried different models on and off for years, including Amazon’s Kindle MatchBook, HarperCollins’ BitLit and Bookshout programs, and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Book Bundles.
Not all past programs have been successful, however, and many publishers have hesitated to jump on the bundling bandwagon for a variety of reasons. There is a need to cover costs and, despite perceptions otherwise, eBooks are not free to produce. Publishers must also determine new and appropriate compensation models for authors. In addition, there is a fear that bundling would steal sales from both print and electronic pools.
A model that benefits everyone
Innovative approaches are helping publishers to overcome past hurdles and establish sales models for bundles that ensure no loss of revenue. For example, they don’t offer the eBook for free but instead charge a premium price for bundled titles.
Another method is to provide added value with the purchase of a title. Scholastic is trying this tact, offering enhanced content online with the purchase of print editions of its Discover More children’s series. These programs benefit both publishers and readers, offering more than one way for purchasers to consume content for a fair price and in multiple formats.
These days, creating a print and eBook bundle is easier than ever. eCommerce platforms allow for adjustable pricing for multiple versions of an item — including bundles — and automated fulfillment of orders, even direct to consumer.
In a world of instant gratification, where we consume content from hardcover while lounging at home over the weekend, from our tablets on the commute to work, and on laptops from the office, publishers have an opportunity to disseminate content to more readers in more formats.
Giving readers easy access to your content, perhaps through bundling, benefits everyone involved.