According to Naefe of HarperCollins’ Avon A, “Readers can come to our Web site and ‘digitally flip through’ up to 20 percent of a certain book. They can read excerpts, look at pictures and actually experience the book online before they buy.”
HarperCollins also has recently announced a new initiative offering readers a digital preview of the entire contents of select books prior to their official launch.
Making readers feel close to their authors of choice through Internet connectivity is a win-win proposition for publishers. Tart says that while publishers previously were limited in terms of outreach (television ads, radio, print, etc.), the Web provides a whole new access point. “I think every commercial best-selling author should and does have a strong presence either on Web sites or blogs,” he says. “It’s just another way to expand your market and meet new readers. Publishers would be crazy not to try to maximize that.”
Carolyn Huckabay, arts editor for the Philadelphia City Paper, has copy edited publications including Where and Philadelphia magazines, and was a contributing book critic and copy editor for The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va.