The Corner Office: A ‘Professional’ Approach to Multiformat Publishing
So today, we have over 5,000 books in e-book format. … Books that are printed now should have an e-book released near the publication date, if not before. Where we can, we want all of our books to be available as an e-book.
… Our customers are very comfortable with reading a book in both print and digital formats. In fact, many of our customers—most of whom are professionals, in business—have been accessing and reading content on computer screens for years.
● Do you see MHP's e-book revenue growing significantly in the next year? Five years?
Ruppel: This year in particular—with the release of a number of high-profile devices [such as] new Kindles from Amazon, Barnes & Noble's Nook and the iPad—we are seeing growing sales and distribution of our [e-books]. In fact, some of our better-selling business books are seeing nearly as many [e-books] sold in a given week as [print books]. We continue to see overall growth on a week-to-week basis, and so … I can only imagine [that] will continue.
With new devices proliferating and new channels to sell the devices increasing, the e-reader or tablet computer will become ubiquitous. And when we start to see as many tablets or devices as laptops or smart phones, I think the size of the e-book opportunity for publishers will be tremendous.
In 5 years, who can say? I imagine by 2015, we will experience growth as a result of a technology we can't imagine today.
● Why the decision to launch Selected Essentials, and how are they selling so far?
Ruppel: Selected Essentials was also an experiment in creating content for a specific channel and/or customer. These were shorter e-books written by some of our best-selling authors in the self-help and business space. We—and our authors—liked the idea of creating a special custom book for particular [audience niches] and [benefiting] from the additional marketing … that would be put behind the book. … Like everything, some are selling better than others, but we saw that when you promote a product, you sell more copies—not exactly rocket science.