To Infinity and Beyond
While prices vary on the cost of an e-book, Potash says the retail cost for an e-book is generally 20-percent to 30-percent less than that of a printed book.
Like Random House, McGraw-Hill uses online newsletters, direct mail and e-mail marketing as well as special offers in consumer magazines to facilitate e-book sales, says Reese. However, unlike some other publishers, McGraw-Hill does not discount its e-books. "We sell e-books at the same price as print books," Reese points out.
Bogaty attributes market growth to "an even larger-than-before selection of e-books, a greater public awareness of e-books and competitive pricing."
A Young Audience
The audience for e-books, Overdrive's Potash says, includes young business travelers, those in need of professional reference books and public-library users. "Public libraries are a big advocate of e-books," says Potash. "They find them to be a convenient way to reach new readers 24/7 and provide books to those who can't readily get to a library branch. E-books also facilitate self-service and they also allow books to be made available in a greater number of languages. We offer e-books in over 23 languages free at public-library Web sites."
Indeed, e-books have come a long way in a very short time. Bogaty says the e-book market "started around 2000. At that time, there were three companies who came out with e-books. They included Microsoft, Nouveau Media and Softbook."
The past five years have seen Microsoft remaining in the market while Gemstar/TV Guide gobbled up Nouveau Media and Softbook. The list of formats in which an e-book can be viewed, says Bogaty, includes Adobe PDF with 50,000 titles; and 15,000 to 20,000 titles in other formats such as eReader, Microsoft and MobiPocket.
The various e-book formats, he points out, are not cross-platform. "Occasionally, this causes market confusion. Over time, however, standardization will take place," Bogaty says, adding that IDPF members are studying a standard format. "The final standard could be a format not yet available."