To Infinity and Beyond
E-books at Wiley have an incremental cost, says Jones, and require customized systems and support, including specialized distribution processes. In addition, many distributors have different requirements in accepting the metadata associated with them. She says that a typical e-book is a converted print-book file from a print-optimized PDF to a Web-optimized PDF.
Wiley uses distributors to sell its e-books. It also sells direct via Wiley.com and supports its book distributors with joint promotions, including pre-publication promotions.
Maximizing the Reach
The key to increasing e-book sales is to create a better user experience, says Jones.
Jill Reese, manager of digital rights and alliances of The McGraw-Hill Digital Group, says, "McGraw-Hill is a content provider and looks for new channels for growth. We recognize e-books as one of these channels." Reese points out that the e-book market overall is growing at an annual rate of 20 percent to 25 percent, and "McGraw-Hill's e-book revenues are growing at the same rate." In the pursuit of growth, she says, McGraw-Hill is targeting the public, academic and large corporate-market sectors and is looking to convert between 400 and 500 titles by the end of this year.
"We are projecting growth based on third-party sales of new devices such as smart phones and PDAs," she explains. "We expect a spike in consumer sales because of these devices."
To increase e-book sales further, McGraw-Hill "partners with its online retailers and also does direct marketing to drive sales through the McGraw-Hill e-bookstore," says Reese.
Random House's current best-selling e-book category is science fiction, and its best seller in that category is "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith—The Illustrated Screenplay." Titan says it is "the one and only official screenplay, available exclusively in e-book format, including scenes that don't appear in the movie."
Random House also markets its e-books through resellers, e-mail newsletters and its Web site, RandomHouse.com, says Titan. Random House e-books are "typically less expensive than their hardcover and trade paperback counterparts by up to 30 percent."