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09 March 2010 @ 10:29 am
Ebook frustrations, or, why can't the publishers figure this out and get their stuff together?  
 There is a new trend in publishing, for ebooks: delaying the ebook release date.

Okay, I can kind of see  doing that for hardcovers.  Amazon offers the kindle price at 9.99 instead of the hardcover price.  This has, as far as I understand it, pushed publishers in this direction of delaying the release of the ebook version.

Case in point: Kim Harrison's newest, Black Magic Sanction, released at the end of February.  The Kindle book now has a listed release date for April!  Okay, this made me angry when it happened, largely because the publisher first listed the ebook release date as the same in February, and only once the hardcover released did they post the NEW pushed back April date for the ebook.  It's like they're promising one thing, and then snatching it back and saying "not yet!"

Not a good way to win readers, Harper Collins.  I know you're all excited and happy about this.  I know you think it makes perfect sense.  Hardcover, ebook, then mass market paperbook.  Different formats get different release dates.  Okay.  Then be clear what the delay is.  It's different for every book so far.  You don't announce the actual date until after everyone is expecting it to release with the hardcover.  These tactics are not going to drive people to go out and purchase the hardcover.  Go read the amazon forums.  People are angry, and they're refusing to buy the hardcover instead because of that.  

Some are going to the library.

And some, I fear, will end up downloading an illegal ebook version so they can go ahead and read it on their ebook reader.  Wow, that's just great, isn't it?  Encouraging illegal downloads is exactly what you were aiming for, I'm certain. (sarcasm)

As if the hardcover weren't bad enough, it's worse when the expected book is releasing in mass market paperback.  So, if the publisher's stated schedule is supposed to be "hardcover, ebook, paperback", why would a paperback book not have the ebook version released on the same day?  Why, for goodness sake, would the publisher list the ebook for the same day, then when that day came, instead of releasing it, announce it for a week later, and then when the next week came, delay it again for another week?  This is happening right now with a book I was waiting for on March 2nd.  The paperback released, but the ebook was pushed back to March 9th.  And this morning when I went to finally order it?  Delayed again, with a current listed pub date of March 16th.  

Unlike the hardcover price vs. the ebook price, the paperback and ebook and virtually the same $ amount.  Often they are exactly the same, and in rare instances, I have even seen the ebook priced for more.  Why, if it's the same money, would you not want people spending that money on the ebook?  Why delay, and risk losing them to the library, or worse, illegal downloading?

Again, people are angry.  I feel sorry for the authors, as the average reader doesn't know the author has no control over how or when their work releases.  People wrote Kim Harrison on her website, and she wrote back, apologizing for something she has no control over, clearly feeling bad for the reader, and let's face it, this doesn't help her sales numbers, either.  What about a new author?  People are deciding whether or not to take a chance on something/someone new anyway.  How does giving them more reason to waffle make sense?

Just decide something that makes actual, you know, sense, and then stick with it.  Stop promising people one thing, and then "delaying" the release date.  Stop being inconsistent.

Me, I'll wait for my Kindle version.  I won't go to the library, because I want to support authors.  But as a writer myself, I am not the average reader.  Most people aren't going to wait (and in case I haven't made the point, I am not happy about waiting, either!)

Ideally, of course, I would like to see the ebook release the same day as the hardcover.  I like to review books I've read, hopefully garnering another couple readers for the author.  The longer the delay for me to read and review, the less likely that review is to matter.  Who cares about the review of a book that's already been out for weeks, or months?  

But fine, if publishers have to delay the release, then do so only for hardcover books.  Don't punish people for preferring to spend their money on the ebook instead of a mass market copy.
Current Mood: aggravatedaggravated