The Wall Street Journal has an article that shows some of this is beginning to happen.
Macmillan, one of the country's largest book publishers, says it will begin selling enhanced electronic-book best sellers in the first quarter of 2010. The special editions, which will include author interviews and other material such as reading guides, will carry a list price slightly higher than the hardcover edition.Notice that these enhancements will come with a higher price than the e-book alone. The enhancements also affect the pub date. Macmillan says these new e-books will go on sale the same day as the hardcover edition, then after 90 days, the special edition will be replaced by the standard e-book. BUT, best-sellers not issued in this way will have hard covers issued, then several months later, the standard e-books will come out. BUT, if the book is not a best-seller, the e-book will come out the same day as the hardcover.
Some other publishers are withholding e-books altogether.
At the moment, it’s still convoluted and varies from publisher to publisher. Publishers are worried about profit. With hardcovers selling at around $25, and e-books being sold by Amazon and B&N for about $10 even though they pay the same price for e-books as they pay for hardcover (and are therefore losing money but hoping to gain buyers’ loyalty), publishers worry that retailers will demand a lower price and publishers will have to cut prices and, in the end, lose money.
And if they lose money, then they will cut even more midlist or new authors and… so the dominoes keep falling.