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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Livin' La Vida Publisherica!

Otherwise known as, Why Publishers Continue To e-Publish Books Out Of Sequence.

It's a little-understood fact that publishers are not smart. We can see this demonstrated in several different ways. One sign is that publishers, by and large, cannot grasp that e-book versions of their in-print titles are very effective tools for marketing the paper versions. Another is that pricing e-book versions at the same level as NYT Top 10 Bestseller hardcovers discourages people from buying e-book versions and, thereby, reduces the exposure of authors to potential readers.

But these aren't the only signs. One of the most insidious is the tendency for publishers to release e-book versions out-of-sequence. For example, Linda Greenlaw has written several non-fiction books of her life experiences as a lobster fisherman and boat owner. She's also written - and they've published - two fiction works, "Slipknot" (2007) and "Fisherman's Bend" (2008). Note the two publication dates. Now here's a curious fact. You can get the non-fiction works in e-book format AND you can get "Fisherman's Bend" as an e-book. But you can't get "Slipknot" that way! Hunh? Why not?

After all, it makes sense does it not, to release the books in a series in proper order, yes? And it's not as if "Slipknot" has been "too long out of print". I don't think it's even OUT-of-print yet.

And Ms. Greenlaw's not the only author to whom the publishers have done this.

Naturally, if an author has written several books that are completely unrelated to each other, the sequence of release does not matter, but when the books are part of a series, with a continuous cast of characters and progressing line of development, it makes it harder for a reader to maintain interest when out-of-sequence releases occur.

But I'm just a reader, not a publisher. What could *I* possibly know?!?

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