Open Letter to NY Publishers

Wednesday, December 9, 2009
(The article prompting this letter can be found here.)

Okay, Simon and Schuster and Hachette, seriously, WTF? You are going to delay the release of ebooks for months after hardcover...why?

"...Preserve your industry?" Seriously? Okay, let me explain some basic economics that apparently someone hasn't taken the time to explain to you.

Cheaper books (ebooks) that cost a fraction of the cost to produce and sell (because the cost per unit goes DOWN with each ebook sold, versus print in any format that still has production/shipping costs that remain constant or increase with each copy sold depending on energy and fuel costs) will sell MORE in the long run than any print version simply because you never have to pull them from the shelves. Ever. As long as the Internet still exists, you can sell the things. Your profit margin is higher because, unlike print, you have a one-time production cost involved in editing and file prep, then that's it. No printing, shipping, stocking, transport costs involved. Period. No returns. You can pay the authors a higher royalty percentage and STILL make a higher profit for a lower cost.

So explain to me why moving to a modern business model embracing ebooks isn't happening? You are only delaying the inevitable, and by doing so you are HURTING your authors, cutting your own profit, and alienating a huge and growing group of readers who will take their business elsewhere. Not to mention you're encouraging pirates who will scan and upload copies of the unavailable titles to file sharing sites and people will find those instead of buying the ebook versions. So you're losing money that way too.

Wake. Up. You are driving your businesses toward extinction, and believe me, readers will not jump off the cliff with you.

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