The London Book Fair had a standing room only crowd at one such panel discussion, according to Publishers Weekly.
Heads of some of Britain’s largest and most powerful publishing houses entered into a heated hour-long discussion, all of them of the mind that e-books can’t be ignored, but differing in their ways of dealing with the pitfalls of e-books, namely piracy and pricing.Some speakers, like Gail Rebuck, chairman and CEO of Random House Group, were fans of e-books. Some, like Tim Hely-Hutchinson, CEO of Hachette Livre UK, were less so. But when it came to a discussion of piracy, there was a lot of discussion. And even more so when the topic turned to pricing.
“We need to adapt our thinking about payment” said [Penguin Group chairman and CEO John] Makinson, who is of the mind that publishers are “short-changing authors” if they don’t price e-books the same as physical books.But I thought one of the best quotes came in the Comments section, by a publisher from SMCNally HerStory Books:
We are amazed that anyone is still having this debate! We have been selling romance ebooks online successfully since 1996. … And yet here we are with the same old tired discussions about whether or not ebooks are here to stay? Some of the people we have partnered with have gone by the wayside, some authors too, but those of us still standing after 13 years can attest to the fact that the readers get what they want, the writers can actually get a better royalty. Why? Because the publisher does not need to worry about printing, inventory, warehousing, pick, pack, ship, demurrage, returns, shelf room, back orders, shipping overseas, dealing with individual customers who have to wait days for a book to come in the mail, etc etc. Customers get what they want instantly, and on a reader, in a safe and secure format Publishers can then spend the money which would be involved in all the aspects involved with a physical book, as mentioned above, on paying better royalties, and on marketing in the new online media, particularly Web 2.0. …