E-books price pressure creates opportunity for publishers

The .99 cent songs exploded in popularity on iTunes, and a recent analysis of the best-selling e-book titles on Amazon.com by the Wall Street Journal shows that 15 of the top 50 titles are priced under $5. This leaves book publishers to consider whether they need to adopt a lower price point per unit with their e-book titles. While Amazon.com lets self-published titles share virtual shelf-space with big-name publishers, the real story for publishers shouldn’t be competition. Publishers AGI publishes the Digital Classroom series of books with our partner Wiley. I’m seeing e-books as a chance to reach readers who might not need an entire book, and may prefer only some of our content – maybe they want some parts of our Photoshop books or pieces from our Dreamweaver books. E-books are allowing us to break-down larger books into smaller pieces with lower price-points, so users who don’t want an entire Microsoft Office 2010 book can simply buy the chapter on Excel 2010 or Word 2010. E-books let publishers create new products and if they are seeking higher prices and margins, they can create unique items, like enhanced e-books that include multimedia elements or extra content that couldn’t make it into the print version. The publishers that will thrive are those that leverage the digital platform, creating new and unique products that add value for readers.